Small Business Collaborative Delivers Services across Nebraska

Three years ago, the Center's Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) teamed up with two other micro-enterprise organizations to form the Nebraska Small Business Collaborative (NSBC). The collaborative serves micro businesses - those with 10 or fewer employees - all across Nebraska. Other members of the collaborative are Community Development Resources (CDR) and Catholic Charities-Microbusiness Training & Development Program (CC-MT).

Services include one-on-one technical assistance, small business training, loan packaging, and micro-loan access up to $50,000. Linking micro businesses to additional resource providers and lending sources, including commercial lenders, also takes place.

In our 3-year history, the Nebraska Small Business Collaborative has worked with a massive number of startup and existing entrepreneurs in distressed areas of our state. We have provided technical assistance or training services to over 8,400 entrepreneurs. Over 82% were below low- to moderate-income. Over 58% were women, and over 54% Latino.

The collaborative placed 409 loans totaling over $5.3 million and leveraged $5.7 million more from 84 other sources due to our “loan packaging” assistance. In all, 80% of loan recipients were below low- to moderate-income.

Over half (51%) of the people receiving loans were women, and 34% were Hispanic. Lending and assistance from the Nebraska Small Business Collaborative helped to create or retain 2,716 jobs at a cost to the state of Nebraska of $331.37 per job.

The need for micro-enterprise services is at an all-time high. Funding is critical to ensure these services - and results - are possible. Partial support comes from the 2011 Business and Innovation Act – Nebraska Microenterprise Assistance Program, administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. The Business and Innovation Act is a driving force with new business creation and expansion in Nebraska. You can find out more about the initiatives it supports at neded.org.

I believe more even more can and should be done. That’s why the collaborative is striving to achieve maximum scale in all distressed areas of Nebraska. All 3 partners are dedicated to meeting the huge and growing demand for services.

For more information or to request services, please contact the Center for Rural Affairs at 402.687.2100 or info@cfra.org.  You can find out more about the Nebraska Small Business Collaborative here, including contact information.