Hispanic Business Center: Expanded REAP Services

Phase four of the REAP Hispanic Business Center (HBC) officially started July 1, 2008. The Hispanic Business Center’s goal is to create new economic opportunity, higher incomes, asset growth, and improved skills for rural Hispanic entrepreneurs. Services are available to Hispanic entrepreneurs across all of rural Nebraska, wherever they may reside.

New Web Initiatives Allow for Better Service

REAP strives to be on the cutting edge of microenterprise. We take pride in the new initiatives offered this year and in those planned for the future. In the last year, we completely redesigned our online services. The REAP website features an updated look with easier navigation.

REAP Organizing 2008-2009

In the last year, REAP groups have formed in several communities. An Hispanic Roundtable was created in Lexington, and several I2E Clubs have taken shape in Southwest/Central Nebraska in collaboration with the PK Partnership. Clubs are based in Minden, Holdrege, McCook and Hastings. We are also a continuing partner in Nebraska City’s I2E Club. I2E is an acronym for Investors, Inventors and Entrepreneurs.

Now That’s Impressive: Entrepreneurs & Trainings Abound

Small Business Happenings – Marvin and Candy Blecha purchased the hardware store in Humboldt, NE, in fall of 2006. Prior to their purchase, store hours were sporadic and supplies and inventory were limited. Marvin, a machinery mechanic, saw a way to keep Humboldt’s downtown square alive with business and to help his hometown economy grow. Marvin is a native of Humboldt, and his wife Candy, a special education teacher at HTRS Schools, is a native of Adams, NE. They understand the importance of supporting their community and growing the business economy in Southeast Nebraska.

REAP Activities 2008

Staff Receive Major Awards – Jerry Terwilliger and Eugene Rahn both received awards in 2009 recognizing their outstanding work as Business Specialists with the Center for Rural Affairs’ Rural Enterprise Assistance Project. Jerry Terwilliger earned the 2009 SBA Nebraska Financial Services Champion of the Year award for his outstanding work in the Nebraska Panhandle. Eugene Rahn was recognized with the Nebraska Enterprise Fund Outstanding Service Award for reaching six million dollars in micro lending.


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