Hispanic Business Center: A New Face in the Entrepreneurial Field

The REAP Hispanic Business Center (HBC) has changed a little in the last few months. Adriana Dungan, our first HBC Director, worked her last day on June 1, 2010, and a new replacement, Juan E. Sandoval from Norfolk, is the new director, and his phone is ringing!

Adriana began work for the Center for Rural Affairs on May 2, 2005, and the HBC expanded and grew rapidly under her guidance and energy. Adriana’s contribution to the betterment of Hispanic entrepreneurship in rural Nebraska was ground breaking and made a major difference over the past five years.

Fortunately, Juan hit the ground running too. All REAP staff receive in-depth training and mentoring in their first weeks on staff, and Juan has been a quick study. We released an announcement about his position in early August, and he's getting lots of calls.

Juan plans to continue Adriana’s work providing one-on-one technical assistance and counseling to startup and existing microenterprise business owners. This is the “key” for REAP success. Juan describes the REAP HBC this way, “We are not just another nonprofit in the area; we focus on every one of our clients, responding quickly and offering solutions to their needs.”

REAP Hispanic Business Center staff continue to provide training in and around Nebraska. Computer Basics Training was offered in Lexington in September 2009, with 19 participants. Business Plan Basics Training was also facilitated in Imperial, with a total of 8 attendees.

New trainings are scheduled in Madison and Norfolk. A Business Plan Basics course will be taking place at the Madison City Hall in Madison from August 31 to September 28, 2010. Two computer trainings are already set at Northeast Community College. Computer Basics will be hosted on Thursdays starting September 9 and continuing through September 30. A Microsoft Office Training will be provided on Fridays starting September 10 and continuing through September 24.

REAP Hispanic Business Center staff also worked promoting the Center for Rural Affairs’ MarketPlace Conference in Kearney last February, providing a number of sessions in Spanish. The fifth annual MarketPlace will be returning to Kearney, Nebraska, in February 2011.

This summer HBC staff has been assisting in development of a REAP Online Lending System in Spanish. The software is already attached to REAP’s website and will be promoted to the public in September. The system allows clients and staff to translate loan information from “English to Spanish” and “Spanish to English,” facilitating the loan process and expanding services to a higher level.

Nancy Flock, REAP Hispanic Business Center Specialist, began working part-time on August 20, 2010. Nancy has been doing an excellent job in the Southwest/Central 2 Region assisting a large number of clients, developing a new roundtable in Imperial, and providing trainings in different communities in her area. She is attending the University of Nebraska-Kearney, pursuing an educational degree.

For more information on the REAP Hispanic Business Center, contact Juan E. Sandoval at 402.371.7786 or juans@cfra.org.