REAP Selects Women Microentrepreneurs for Five Equity Awards

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Monica Braun,, Phone: (402) 643-2673
Lyons, Nebraska Utilizing $10,000 in funds provided by the Women and Company® Microenterprise Boost Program, the Center for Rural Affairs—Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) Women’s Business Center, is pleased to announce that six women microentrepreneurs across rural Nebraska will receive financial support for their enterprises.
The equity award winners are being announced in April and recognized at the GROW Nebraska Spring Meeting on April 26, 2007 in Holbrook, NE. The REAP announcement of equity award recipients ties nicely with GROW Nebraska’s mission to maximize the state’s entrepreneurial and small business spirit, create an economically viable and sustainable environment for entrepreneurs and generate social awareness through promotion, marketing and education.

REAP is one of only fifteen organizations selected to participate in this nationwide program. The Women and Company® Microenterprise Boost Program offers low- and moderate-income women microentrepreneurs the opportunity to achieve greater business success by providing cash awards that will have measurable impact on the development of their businesses.

Started in 2005, the program is funded by the Citigroup Foundation and is administered by the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO). The awards may be used for essential business development activities such as marketing, technology purchases, website development, inventory, or professional services. Recipients will also receive technical training, business development guidance and assistance from REAP staff on growing their businesses and maximizing their equity awards.

“This is our third year in this project. With the nice boost that these awards provided our member businesses the past two years, we are thrilled to once again be a partner in this national project and help Nebraska women-owned businesses,” said Monica Braun, REAP Women’s Business Center Director. “Our business awardees will be invited as our guests to some training and special recognition events like the GROW Nebraska Spring Meeting which offers networking and training opportunities. Thanks to the Citigroup Foundation and Women and Company, this innovative initiative makes it possible for us to provide awardees with both cash and skills, two critical elements for business growth and success,” Braun noted.

REAP clients selected to receive equity awards in 2007 include:

Christina Wertenberger, Wertenberger Custom Milling, Falls City, Nebraska Karen Runkle, Lil’ Ladybug Greenhouse and Gardens, Hay Springs, Nebraska Becky Wyatt, Becky’s Health Hut, Sidney, Nebraska Lesley Connot, Awaken Salon, Ainsworth, NE Lynn Welch & Cedonnia Hyke, The Pool Hall, Eustis, NE

Recipients were selected through an application process coordinated by REAP.

“Women and Company is proud to participate in the Microenterprise Boost Program for the third consecutive year because we believe that all women should have the opportunity to achieve their financial goals,” said Lisa Caputo, President and CEO, Women and Company. We’ve seen this program have an immediate and practical effect in helping women grow their businesses, and we know that starting a business is one way that more and more women are finding they can begin to gain financial independence.”

The Center for Rural Affairs’ Rural Enterprise Assistance Project was selected by the Small Business Administration to create a rural women's business center, the first such program in Nebraska. For REAP, the Women’s Business Center provides an opportunity to enhance its outreach to potential women entrepreneurs and its work with small businesses across Nebraska. More information about REAP is on our website


Citigroup (NYSE:C), the leading global financial services company, has some 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 100 countries, providing consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, and wealth management. Major brand names under Citigroup's trademark red umbrella include Citibank, CitiFinancial, Primerica, Smith Barney, and Banamex. The Citigroup Foundation focuses its grants primarily in three areas: financial education, educating the next generation, and building communities and entrepreneurs. Additional information may be found at

Women and Company is an annual membership program from Citigroup designed to help women take control of their financial future while facing the many transitions life brings-from birth of a child, to preparing for retirement, handling a divorce, or facing the illness or death of a spouse. Since each transition point in life calls for a new set of knowledge, Women and Company offers a full range of benefits and services to help women navigate each twist and turn. Members have access to financial education, including online newsletters, conference calls led by knowledgeable experts, and Master Classes in major metropolitan areas; ongoing assistance through toll-free resources staffed by professionals equipped to help answer questions related to taxes, real estate, survivorship, and elder care issues; and special savings on select Citigroup products. For more information, visit

The Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) is the national association of community-based organizations that provide entrepreneurial education, access to capital, and support to aspiring and active low-income entrepreneurs. AEO's mission is to support the development of strong and effective U.S. microenterprise initiatives to assist underserved entrepreneurs in starting, stabilizing, and expanding businesses. To learn more about AEO or microenterprise, please visit our website at

This U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Cooperative Agreement is partially funded by the SBA. SBA’s funding is not an endorsement of any products, opinions, or services. All SBA funded programs are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis.

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