Small business staff present, collaborate, and lead

Small Business

Note: This is the second in a series highlighting lending activities from Sept. 1, 2016, to Aug. 31, 2017. Our staff placed 124 loans totaling $2,541,952 in that time period. To apply for a microloan, click here. Click here for the first story on business accomplishments.


Monica Braun received the Association of Women’s Business Centers 2017 Advocacy Award for efforts on behalf of the women’s business centers.

Juan Sandoval received the Nebraska Entrepreneurship Outstanding Service Award from NET-Force and Nebraska Enterprise Fund in recognition of sustained and outstanding leadership and advocacy for entrepreneurship education and business development services.


Braun presented “What’s in Your Business Plan?” sessions at the AgCeptional Women’s Conference in Norfolk, in November.

Nancy Flock presented at a college and career fair in Cambridge, in October, to students who want to return home after college to start businesses.

Janelle Moran and Griselda Rendon were the featured speakers at the October Nebraska City Small Incubator coffee.

Dena Beck was the special guest speaker at the Sutton Area Chamber’s annual meeting.

Gene Rahn spoke to the KBR Leadership Academy in January.

Conference attendees

Beck, Brian Depew, Rhea Landholm, and board member Jay Hall attended the Opportunity Finance Network Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, in October 2016.

Braun, Kim Preston, and Dongwen Wang attended the annual Women’s Business Center Conference in September, in Alexandria, Virginia.

Braun and Beck attended the Governor’s Economic Summit in July.

Moran, Braun, and Beck attended the 2017 Nebraska Economic Developers Association (NEDA) conference at Nebraska City and set up a booth. Beck presented in a preconference session.

Beck, Flock, and Braun participated in the Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference in McCook, in April; and the Nebraska AgriEco-Tourism Conference in Broken Bow, in February.


Flock worked with an Intensive Business Development Project for Dawson County. Through this project, it was identified that one business was ready to expand into a larger restaurant and REAP was able to provide financing.

Braun was a member of the planning team for the annual GROW Nebraska MarkeTECH Conference; and was a part of the planning and implementing team for the EntrepreneurShip Investigation Camp in Seward, in June. 

Flock was a judge in the Hormel Business Plan Competition at McCook; and Beck was a judge at Big Idea Kearney, in November. 


We collaborate with many organizations to better serve entrepreneurs and communities. 

Staff participate in resource network meetings in their regions to keep abreast of what other resource providers have to offer. They inform others about Center for Rural Affairs services to keep referral networks current and to assist our clientele.

The Nebraska Small Business Collaborative (NSBC) consists of the Center, Community Development Resources-Lincoln, Catholic Charities-Omaha, and Nebraska Enterprise Fund.

We participate in NEDA, an association of professional economic developers dedicated to the prosperous growth of Nebraska’s business climate.

The Center is a part of NET-Force, an organization made up of entities that facilitate entrepreneurship. Each community college is represented, as well as the University of Nebraska and Nebraska Enterprise Fund.

Staff Training & Networking

Braun participated in the NET-Force Entrepreneurship Best Practices Summit, in October; Nebraska Financial Education Coalition meeting in Lincoln, in October; and Small Business Administration (SBA) speed mentoring session in Lincoln.

Moran and Braun attended the SBA district office informational day for lenders in Lincoln, in May.

Flock attended the Community Reinvestment Act for Workforce Workshop in Broken Bow, in June.

Survey Work

Beck completed the fifth biennial “Small Business Needs Assessment Survey.” The survey, administered every two years, helps determine the needs of rural entrepreneurs in Nebraska. In 2017, the survey was conducted in Kansas and South Dakota; data analyzation is in progress. 

Photo: Monica Braun (center) received the Association of Women’s Business Centers 2017 Advocacy Award for efforts on behalf of women’s business centers.