Bennett honored as REAP Friend of the Year

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Dena Beck, senior project leader and south central loan specialist,, 308.528.0060; Griselda Rendon, Latino loan specialist,, 308.850.4820; or Rhea Landholm, brand marketing and communications manager,, 402.687.2100 ext 1025

Lyons, Nebraska - The Center for Rural Affairs has chosen Sara Bennett, of Grand Island, Nebraska, as its Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) 2017 Friend of the Year. Center staff will recognize Bennett at an award ceremony on March 9 in Red Cloud, Nebraska.

The REAP Friend of the Year Award is presented annually to an individual, organization, or institution that provides invaluable service to entrepreneurs by assisting REAP staff in offering technical assistance, business training, loans, and networking across rural Nebraska.

Bennett is the associate director of the Nebraska Business Development Center (NBDC), business consultant, certified valuations analyst, and certified exit planning advisor. She has been serving small businesses in central Nebraska for more than seven years, and has offices in Grand Island and Kearney.

“Sara seeks out REAP for trainings and assistance for her clients, as well as financing, when she sees a need,” said Dena Beck, REAP senior project leader and south central loan specialist with the Center for Rural Affairs. “She is a great resource to our businesses and assists them with preparing for Small Business Administration (SBA) Guaranteed Loan applications and market research. In addition, she helps them understand industry standards for their businesses.”

Another service Bennet provides is succession planning and business valuations. She provides a “much-needed service to our aging business owners in Nebraska,” according to Beck.

“Sara has been involved with REAP Women’s Business Center trainings and is an outstanding referral source,” said Griselda Rendon, Latino loan specialist with the Center for Rural Affairs. “Sara makes herself available if questions come up and is always willing to assist and provide additional resources to meet our clients’ needs.”

Bennett helped implement the Grand Island Small Business Resource Team, a group of area business resources, to better assist entrepreneurs and business owners in the area.

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