Note: This is the fourth in a series from our small business program, Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP), highlighting 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 highlights from businesses, here for the second story on staff accomplishments, and here for the third story - a report from our executive director and interim REAP director.
From September 2016 through August 2017, Women’s Business Center specialists and contracted technical assistance providers delivered 4,559 hours of business counseling (including preparation hours) to 653 clients.
We have provided 179 training opportunities to 1,285 individuals. 69 percent of those trained were women.
This is the 16th year of funding for the Women’s Business Center.
In the last year, the Women’s Business Center:
• Administered the InnovateHER Challenge, with the Nebraska District Office of the Small Business Administration. Three businesses, whose products or services positively impact women, competed for prize money. The application of Sonia Rocha-Sanchez and Michael Feloney, F & S Medical Solutions, LLC, was submitted to the national competition with their innovation SimplCath, a female catheterization assistance device.
• Collaborated with local economic development agencies to sponsor Diane Siefkes, a social media consultant, presenting online marketing and Facebook sessions in Hartington, Valentine, Ainsworth, Alma, O’Neill, Hebron, Central City, and Sidney. Approximately 110 businesses, resource providers, and nonprofits attended.
• Piloted “Primed for Growth: A Financial Education Program for Women Entrepreneurs,” an eightsession program.
• Collaborated with local economic development agencies and educational institutions to host three Business Plan Basics sessions in Red Cloud, Auburn, and Walthill. Latino-targeted series were held in Schuyler, Columbus, Grand Island, South Sioux City, and Loup City. Approximately 50 participated, from start-up to existing businesses.
• Continued collaboration with the University of Nebraska Entrepreneurship Clinic. Law students assist business owners in determining the best legal structure for their businesses and assist with filing documents. The students presented at the Women Entrepreneur Conference.
• Partnered with GROW Nebraska to hold the MarkeTECH Conference in Kearney.
• Delivered QuickBooks training sessions in Lewellen, Scottsbluff, Ainsworth, Norfolk, Walthill, Laurel, Wayne, Hartington, Chadron, and O’Neill using the Mobile Laptop Lab. Approximately 90 businesses have been assisted. The laptops are also used for computer and e-commerce trainings.
• Held four seminars in Lincoln in collaboration with Community Development Resources, focused on Facebook, marketing budgets, LinkedIn, and sale and use taxes.
• Sponsored a monthly Women’s Roundtable in Seward. Local women business owners gather to network, discuss cooperative marketing opportunities, and support each other.
• Held a seminar on Federal Contracting and Certification as a Woman-Owned Small Business in collaboration with the Small Business Administration Omaha District Office. Also collaborated on a business start-up session and a business financing session in Grand Island.
• Held two business ownership seminars in Lincoln and Beatrice.
Photo: The Women’s Business Center co-sponsored the Women Entrepreneurship Conference in Grand Island, alongside the Nebraska District Office of the Small Business Administration. Participants had the opportunity to network and enhance their entrepreneurship skills. A panel of women entrepreneurs shared their experiences, and sessions addressed target market, marketing on a budget, and legal issues related to small businesses. | Photo by Emilee Pease