Custer County Small Business Assistance Available Through REAP

Release Date: 

05/02/2007

Contact(s): 

Jeff Reynolds, jeffr@alltel.net, (402) 656-3091 Dena Beck, denab@gtmc.net, (308) 528-0060
Lyons, Nebraska - The Center for Rural Affairs has an established program working throughout Nebraska for the benefit of small businesses. It’s called the Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) and its services are available to rural communities across Nebraska.
REAP offers technical assistance, educational and networking opportunities, and a loan program for small self-employed businesses. REAP is designed to assist all types of small businesses, including businesses with 5 or fewer employees, self-employed full-time, part-time, home-based, farm-based, start-up, and store-front businesses. REAP has six regionally based Business Specialists across Nebraska. They can get involved in assisting entrepreneurs at various stages of their business progress. Entrepreneurs seeking assistance can find the Business Specialist that serves their area by going to http://www.cfra.org/reap/map.htm. Custer County residents should contact Dena Beck the new central and southwest Nebraska business specialist.

Small self-employment businesses are at the core of the economic activity in rural Nebraska. REAP is the largest full service micro-enterprise program in Nebraska and is one of the largest rural based programs in the nation. REAP’s work centers around four components: technical assistance which includes business planning and trouble shooting consultations, financial and cash flow budgeting, loan packaging assistance; a micro loan fund, networking, and business management training. Based on interest shown by individuals in a community, a local small business roundtable may be formed with REAP’s assistance. Participants can meet regularly to network and discuss business ideas and problems, and for ongoing small business management education. In some of REAP’s established association communities, members can review and approve micro-loan applications from its members.

Since 2001, REAP has operated a Women’s Business Center (WBC) project funded by the Small Business Administration, which is the first and only WBC in Nebraska. In addition, REAP has begun work with a Hispanic Business Center project to reach out to rural Hispanic businesses. REAP continues to innovate new initiatives so it can provide efficient and core business development services across Nebraska. REAP is piloting new online lending system and REAP Rapid Loan for $5,000 or less, with loan application capability using the internet. The REAP Online Lending System is located at http://www.cfra.org/reap/rapidloan_entry.htm

More information about REAP can be found at www.cfra.org/reap or by calling 402.656.3091or 308.528.0060. The Center for Rural Affairs receives funding for REAP from the Nebraska Microenterprise Development Act, Community Development Block Grants through the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, Small Business Administration, United States Department of Agriculture and other sources.

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