REAP Assisted Record Number of Rural Small Businesses in 2007

The Center’s Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) works with startup and existing small businesses with five or fewer employees. The largest full-service microenterprise development program in the state, REAP strives to serve all of the Nebraska’s rural areas with business management training, networking, one-on-one technical assistance, and small loans.

The past year was an exceptional one for REAP in reaching rural entrepreneurs and placing micro loans. The services offered also continued to grow and expand through the Women’s Business Center and the Hispanic Business Center.

Jose Lopez received assistance through the REAP Hispanic Business Center last year. He is a good example of the people we strive to help. Jose came to Nebraska from California 11 years ago looking for better working opportunities. In 2003 he opened Lopez Auto Sales, a used car dealer located on Highway 30 in North Bend, Nebraska.

Jose saw the opportunity to buy a building and relocate his business to the Schuyler area, so he contacted Hispanic Business Center Director Adriana Dungan for help with his business plan and packaging the loan. After several months, Jose was able to purchase the building including the business that was currently in operation, a liquor store. With a great plan in mind and using his business skills acquired over 20 years of experience working in a family run small business in his native Guatemala, he went into his new business venture.

With an investment of over $200,000 he’s kept the liquor store up and running and has shown increased sales every month. The Auto Sales business will stay in North Bend with the plans to open up a new Auto Business in Schuyler. The assistance Jose received through the REAP Hispanic Business Center has been a difference maker!

REAP Statistics
From Oct. 1, 2006 to Sep. 30, 2007, REAP trained or counseled over 1,800 entrepreneurs. The program placed 56 loans totaling $713,175 and leveraged an additional $1,957,500 from other sources. REAP’s lending and assistance helped to create or retain 366.0 jobs in this time period.

Since its beginning in 1990, the REAP program has provided business development services to over 10,000 micro businesses. Historically, REAP has placed 555 loans totaling $3,964,255 while also leveraging an additional $9,283,655 from other sources due to REAP assistance.

Contact: Jeff Reynolds, REAP Program Director at 402.656.3091 or jeffr@alltel.net. More information about REAP can be found at http://www.cfra.org/reap.

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