Improved REAP Web Serves Rural Entrepreneurs

The Center for Rural Affairs’ Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) is committed to helping rural small businesses succeed through action-oriented programming including lending, loan packaging assistance, small business training, one-on-one counseling and networking opportunities. In providing assistance to startup and existing entrepreneurs, an up-to-date and easy to use website is an important tool. To that end, we have been busy working behind the scenes on a major upgrade of the REAP website. We launched the new site on April 13, 2009, at http://www.cfra.org/reap.

The new site introduces an updated look for REAP and includes a simplified navigation system to make it easier for users to move around and locate the information and resources they need. As part of the upgrade, the REAP Online Lending System and the REAP Online Member Directory were both rebuilt and improved.

The new secure REAP Online Lending System is more user friendly and continues to allow applicants to utilize a username and password to be able to enter and reenter the application at anytime over an extended period. The new REAP Online Member Directory provides REAP participants with an online presence viewable by anyone visiting the REAP website, whether from across the country or around the world.

Entrepreneurs are a dynamic bunch, and information does change rapidly. The old directory had grown outdated, and we are now in the process of adding new and current information for all members. Each REAP participant received a mailing with details on how to be included in the new REAP Online Member Directory. That information is also enclosed with this newsletter. We encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity.

Entrepreneurs are a dynamic bunch, and information does change rapidly. The old directory had grown outdated, and we are now in the process of adding new and current information for all members.

We hope all REAP participants enjoy the updated website at http://www.cfra.org/reap. It represents the completion of only the first phase of planned expansion and improvements for our online presence. In the second phase we are planning even more exciting additions and enhancements to the web. These include addition of a Spanish language version of the website, more online assistance options, and other tools to expand a REAP member’s ability to create networks online.

When you have a moment, please take a look and see what you think! You can leave us a message at www.cfra.org/reap/contactus. We’d love to know how you like the new website.

Contact: REAP Program Director Jeff Reynolds at 402.656.3091 or jeffr@cfra.org for more information or with questions about REAP. You can also get in touch with the REAP Business Specialist in your area. See the back of the Update or look online at http://www.cfra.org/reap/staff for their information.