On the morning of December 17, 2010, state Senator Tom Hansen joined Traci Bruckner and Nancy Flock, both with the Center for Rural Affairs, to tour two small businesses in North Platte. The tour showed first-hand how state support of entrepreneurial development through the Nebraska Microenterprise Act has helped start or grow businesses.
The tour began at Gracie Mae’s, a local bakery and café owned by Stacy Chingren. It opened a year ago. “When individuals come back to small communities to start businesses, it’s important they know what help is out there, and they [REAP] are very helping in letting you know what resources are
available,” said Chingren.
The next stop was Caravan Skate Shop (see Spotlight on Success story), which opened its doors in September of 2010 and needed help expanding inventory. “I had a small inventory, and I needed help to build up the inventory. REAP helped out my business quite a bit,” said owner Brandon Raby. “People are happy to come in here and see a great selection of products and great diversity of products, and it will encourage growth.”
Small businesses like these and the programs that help them grow strengthen our rural communities and keep them thriving. The REAP program has benefited from state support through the Microenterprise Act, and is able to provide technical assistance, lending, training and networking opportunities across rural Nebraska in part because of that funding.
Contact Jeff Reynolds for more information, firstname.lastname@example.org or 402.656.3091.
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