REAP Helps Celebrate 25 Years of Microenterprise Support

Center for Rural Affairs REAP staffers Dena Beck and Nancy Flock attended the 25th anniversary celebration of the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) in Washington, D.C. in May. AEO is the trade association for microenterprise businesses in the United States.

Session tracks focused on inclusion, innovation, collaboration, and economic disruption and transformation. Entrepreneurs and service providers like REAP are working on most of these themes to drive their businesses and missions forward.

Bob Friedman, Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) founder, general counsel and chairman of the board, recently received AEO’s Founding Vision Award. Bob has been a key leader in the small business finance sector for over 30 years.

“I was honored to accept the Founding Vision Award from AEO on behalf of the many founders of AEO, who gave freely of their time, experience and dreams to bring together the diverse forces of the self-employment and microenterprise field,” Friedman said. “Founders include, notably, Gene Severens and REAP, who brought the best of Midwest good sense and kept us true to local realities and opportunities across the country.”

Dena has attended AEO conferences for nearly 10 years. “This year’s 25th anniversary celebration really brought home the hard work it took so many years ago to make the service to small businesses happen,” Dena reflected. “The history was humbling and inspiring.”

Nancy has attended four conferences. “Learning about the milestones achieved in the history of microenterprise work over the last 25 years was moving,” Nancy said. “It's encouraging to network with other programs across the country and learn about their successes and challenges. We are all part of this large ecosystem standing up for microenterprise and access to small business development services in America.”

Feature image: REAP staffers Dena Beck, left, and Nancy Flock, right, enjoyed the 25th anniversary meeting of the Association for Enterprise Opportunity. It took place May 18-20, 2016, at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill.