REAP News

Women's Business Center Update: Fourth annual conference incorporates insight, inspiration, and growth

Women business owners gathered in Grand Island on April 12 for a Women Entrepreneur Conference hosted by the Women’s Business Center and the Nebraska District Office of the Small Business Administration. 

Women business owners were inspired and encouraged by the speakers, panelists, and the networking opportunity.

The Women’s Business Center continues with training opportunities across Nebraska. 

Longneckers recognized as Entrepreneurs of the Year

Service is the number one priority at Odiss Enterprises, LLC, owned by Mary Jo and Don Longnecker in Indianola, Neb.

That mantra is one of the reasons the Center for Rural Affairs chose Mary Jo and Don as the 2016 Entrepreneurs of the Year. They were recognized at an award ceremony on March 10 in York, Neb. The couple was unable to attend, so they received the award last month at the Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference in McCook.

Remembering Jeff Reynolds

It is with a heavy heart that I write to share the news that Jeff Reynolds passed away unexpectedly on April 20, 2017. Jeff directed the Center's small business development program, the Rural Enterprise Assistance Project, or REAP, as it is widely known in Nebraska. He was a veteran staff member, having worked for the Center since 1994.

We will miss his dedication, his good spirit, his can-do attitude, and his uplifting presence.

Small businesses are the backbone of rural communities

Small scale entrepreneurship is a proven strategy to revitalize rural communities. Owning one’s own business can create genuine opportunity across rural America with the support of a modest public investment.

The importance of entrepreneurship is particularly profound in the most rural areas. Our analysis of economic conditions in the farm and ranch counties of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska and the Dakotas found that nearly 60 percent of job growth in the 1990s came from people creating their own job by starting a small non farm business.

Small business needs identified in report

The opinions of 587 business owners, resource providers and lenders will help shape the future of our Rural Enterprise Assistance Project.

Responses are compiled in “Their needs and thoughts: Results of the fifth biennial Small Business Needs Assessment,” by Dena Beck, Rural Enterprise Assistance Project senior project leader.

The results will also be used by policymakers, lenders and other business resource providers for focusing, planning and developing strategic partnerships.

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