Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Recognized - Center for Rural Affairs presents prestigious award to Axtell Business Woman

Release Date: 



Monica Braun, monicab@cfra.org, Center for Rural Affairs, Phone: (402) 643-2673
or Elisha Smith, elishas@cfra.org, Center for Rural Affairs, Phone: (402) 687-2103 ext. 1007

Lyons, NE - The Center for Rural Affairs is pleased to announce that Colleen Rickard of Axtell, NE has been honored for her entrepreneurship and her dedication and involvement among women business owners in her community.

Colleen received the Center’s REAP Women’s Business Center Entrepreneur of the Year Award at a special awards banquet on March 11 in Columbus, Nebraska. Using services from the Center’s Rural Enterprise Assistance Program (REAP), Colleen is successfully operating and growing her business. This exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit so crucial to women-owned businesses and the rural Nebraska communities they call home.
Rickard, along with her husband Larry, are the owners of C-Pap Easy Clean, LLC, a device that uses UVC lighting to clean C-Pap and Bi-Pap equipment or clear plastic, such as breast pumps, baby pacifiers, etc., from molds, bacteria, and viruses. It sterilizes all plastic to 99.9 percent clean.
The path to entrepreneurship for Larry and Colleen started three years ago at the Nebraska State Fair, when their young grandson dropped his pacifier into the dirt. The pacifier was too dirty to give back to him and it caused the little boy to become quite distressed.
“After we came home from the fair, I couldn’t get that episode out of my head,” Colleen said. So she developed the C-Pap Easy Clean, LLC, which is not limited to C-Pap machines (used for treating sleep apnea) but can be used for pacifiers, breast pumps, any clear and frosted plastic items (such as water bottles).
Colleen says 18 million Americans over age 65, and thousands younger, use a C-Pap, according to the John Hopkins Institute. “This is a cost-effective product. Care Homes can use it. Nurses can use it. Mothers can use it. Schools and daycares can use it. It can help with secondary infections. If we can help 1 percent of the market, we’ll have made a difference,” she said.
On her road to developing her business, Colleen has participated in numerous training sessions offered by the REAP Women’s Business Center, including the Business Plan Basics, Federal Contracting, Bookkeeping Basics, the Woman Owned Small Business sessions as well as attending the Women Entrepreneurs Conference. She was a participant in the InnovateHER Challenge this year.
Colleen has received numerous hours of pre and post REAP loan technical assistance as well a Quick GROW Loan serviced by REAP. She also refers others to the REAP program. A little over a year ago, the C-Pap Easy Clean, LLC won approval from the Better Business Bureau, and currently enjoys an A+ rating.
For a picture, visit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cfra/albums/72157665871888592. (Pictures courtesy of the Center for Rural Affairs.)

For more information about this and other Center for Rural Affairs awards please visit: www.cfra.org.
The REAP Women’s Business Center is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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