Barrera is first ever Latino Business Center Partner of the Year

Sandra Barrera, of Grand Island, Nebraska, was chosen as the first ever Center for Rural Affairs’ 2016 Latino Business Center Partner of the Year. She was recognized at an award ceremony on March 10 in York, Nebraska.

The Latino Business Center Partner of the Year Award is presented annually to an individual or organization that has demonstrated outstanding support for the Rural Entrepreneurship Assistance Project (REAP) Latino Business Center and exceptional dedication to small business development in rural Nebraska.

Sandra is a University of Nebraska at Lincoln Extension educator of community vitality in Hall County, and is an entrepreneur herself.

“Sandra is a great partner in sponsoring and promoting training opportunities to the community,” said Juan Sandoval, Center for Rural Affairs’ REAP Latino Business Center director. “She understands the importance of access to resources.”

Griselda Rendon, REAP Latino loan specialist, said she’s known Sandra for several years and now have worked in the same field for two years.

“She’s been a great partner. She has helped promote and sponsor a lot of trainings,” Griselda said. “She’s also great with clients, encouraging them. So I want to thank her for everything she’s done, and for her great partnership with us.”

Sandra helped start Coffee Tables, a monthly training for entrepreneurs in Grand Island, and refers clients to REAP so they can explore their financing options.

“Not only does Sandra encourage Latino entrepreneurs to utilize resources to help them be successful, but she is also an excellent mentor,” said Sandoval. “She is passionate about assisting small business owners to help them succeed.”

In 2016, Sandra’s support helped start 23 businesses in the Grand Island area.

“The extension and REAP have a great relationship with great teamwork,” Sandra said. “This is just the beginning.”