Editor's note: Juan has led the Latino Business Center since 2010. This week, we say goodbye and wish him well in his future endeavors. Thank you for your unwavering dedication to rural America and small businesses. Photos: Juan was honored at our December board meeting with an Award of Appreciation, "In light of his tireless, knowledgeable, and cheerful work on behalf of hundreds ot Latino and other rural Nebraskans pursuing the American Dream through small businesses."
For 13 years, the Center for Rural Affairs’ Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) has operated the Latino Business Center (LBC). Two directors have led the LBC, starting with Adriana Dungan in 2005. In 2010, leadership transitioned to me.
REAP believes in its work with Latino entrepreneurs in rural Nebraska.
In 2011, LBC placed 9 loans to businesses. That number grew to 59 loans in 2017.
From 2014 to 2017, 146 loans were awarded to Latino business.
In the last five years, 185 loans were placed with Latino businesses.
Lending capacity improved from $149,500 in 2011 to $1,032,295 in 2017.
Loans in the amount of $2,086,395 were placed in the last three years.
Loans in the amount of $2,672,795 were committed in the last six years.
Counseling and training
The number of clients trained and counseled went from 891 in 2011 to 1,335 in 2017.
In the last three years, 3,357 Latinos have been trained or counseled.
In the last six years, 6,161 Latinos have been trained or counseled.
- New American Loan Fund, a private fund designated to help Latinos who are not able to qualify for traditional loans or federal loans;
- Credit builder loan;
- Credit booster program; and
- Alice Integrity Loan Fund.
REAP received $950,000 in 2015 to implement the New American Loan Fund. Our goal is to raise $5 million by 2025.
This growth is managed by only two Latino loan specialists.*
As I transition to a new career, I extend my gratitude to the Center for Rural Affairs staff and board, our clients, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, the Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, many economic development and chamber of commerce offices across the state, city staff members, and many colleagues who support and believe in the work I developed for a number of years.
Here is the strong foundation for the next generations to take over.
*Editor's note: Since Juan wrote this piece, one more Latino Business Specialist has been added to our staff. Veronica Spindola is based out of her home office in Columbus, Nebraska. Check out our coverage map here.
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