Small Business Collaborative Delivers Services across Nebraska

Three years ago, the Center's Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) teamed up with two other micro-enterprise organizations to form the Nebraska Small Business Collaborative (NSBC). The collaborative serves micro businesses - those with 10 or fewer employees - all across Nebraska. Other members of the collaborative are Community Development Resources (CDR) and Catholic Charities-Microbusiness Training & Development Program (CC-MT).

Services include one-on-one technical assistance, small business training, loan packaging, and micro-loan access up to $50,000. Linking micro businesses to additional resource providers and lending sources, including commercial lenders, also takes place.

In our 3-year history, the Nebraska Small Business Collaborative has worked with a massive number of startup and existing entrepreneurs in distressed areas of our state. We have provided technical assistance or training services to over 8,400 entrepreneurs. Over 82% were below low- to moderate-income. Over 58% were women, and over 54% Latino.

The collaborative placed 409 loans totaling over $5.3 million and leveraged $5.7 million more from 84 other sources due to our “loan packaging” assistance. In all, 80% of loan recipients were below low- to moderate-income.

Over half (51%) of the people receiving loans were women, and 34% were Hispanic. Lending and assistance from the Nebraska Small Business Collaborative helped to create or retain 2,716 jobs at a cost to the state of Nebraska of $331.37 per job.

The need for micro-enterprise services is at an all-time high. Funding is critical to ensure these services - and results - are possible. Partial support comes from the 2011 Business and Innovation Act – Nebraska Microenterprise Assistance Program, administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. The Business and Innovation Act is a driving force with new business creation and expansion in Nebraska. You can find out more about the initiatives it supports at

I believe more even more can and should be done. That’s why the collaborative is striving to achieve maximum scale in all distressed areas of Nebraska. All 3 partners are dedicated to meeting the huge and growing demand for services.

For more information or to request services, please contact the Center for Rural Affairs at 402.687.2100 or  You can find out more about the Nebraska Small Business Collaborative here, including contact information.