REAP Activities 2008

Staff Receive Major Awards – Jerry Terwilliger and Eugene Rahn both received awards in 2009 recognizing their outstanding work as Business Specialists with the Center for Rural Affairs’ Rural Enterprise Assistance Project. Jerry Terwilliger earned the 2009 SBA Nebraska Financial Services Champion of the Year award for his outstanding work in the Nebraska Panhandle. Eugene Rahn was recognized with the Nebraska Enterprise Fund Outstanding Service Award for reaching six million dollars in micro lending.

Annual Awards – REAP annual awards were distributed at the Center for Rural Affairs Awards Banquet on Feb. 24, 2009, at North Platte. 2008 REAP awards Recipients were: Small Business, Andy Weitzel, Midwest Electronics, Scottsbluff, NE; Officer, Maria Alvarado, Secretary of Columbus Hispanic Networking group, Columbus, NE; Friend, Denise Russell, Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce, Broken Bow, NE; Extra Mile, Kristin Simonson-Olson, North Central Development Center, Ainsworth, NE. The overall Entrepreneur Award went to Larry Harbour, LB Custom Chrome and Detail LLC, Broken Bow, NE.

Entrepreneurship Week – Monica Braun and Jeff Reynolds participated in the National Entrepreneurship Week Proclamation Signing at the state Capitol in January. The proclamation recognizes Feb. 21-28 as National Entrepreneurship Week in Nebraska. All Nebraska Entrepreneurship Task Force members and other key leaders were invited to attend and be part of the group photographed with Lt. Governor Sheehy.

MarketPlace – All REAP staff were involved in the third annual MarketPlace entrepreneurial event held in North Platte on Feb. 25, 2009. Approximately 500 people attended the sessions. Evaluations were positive for training and networking opportunities.

GROW Nebraska Spring Meeting – Monica Braun and Jerry Terwilliger attended the GROW Nebraska Spring Meeting at Lochland Country Club in Hastings in April. The Women and Company® Equity Award Winners were announced and recognized. Connie Harvey, Efficiency Counts, Hastings, and Leala Jimerson, Smarter Treats, Chadron, were on hand to receive their awards. The day included educational workshops and networking opportunities. Awardee Elaine Mullin, Elaine’s Hair Studio, Pawnee City, was recognized at her business with Business Specialist Janelle Moran and Harvey Schneider of Union Bank.

Small Business Fair – Monica Braun; Lana Zumbrunn, Seward County Economic Development; Craig Eberle, Southeast Nebraska Development District; and Pat Coldiron, Seward Area Chamber organized the 2nd annual Seward County Small Business Fair held in Seward in June. Around 20 Service Providers were available, and about 15 individuals accessed the providers and information. Educational sessions ran throughout the day and evening. Next year’s Seward County Small Business Fair is already scheduled for June 10, 2010.

Ponca Tribe – Jeff Reynolds is serving on the Advisory Council for the Ponca Economic Development Corporation Micro-Business Opportunities Project. The project’s goal is to develop a Micro-Business Development Center serving low-to-moderate income members of the Ponca Tribe in Nebraska. Services will include start-up services, business plan assistance, credit repair services, entrepreneurial training, web-based technical assistance and more.

Conferences – Monica Braun presented entrepreneurship information to the Future Leaders of Nebraska Conference sponsored by the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office in Lincoln in January. Approximately 100 youth from across the state attended. Dena Beck and Monica Braun staffed an informational booth at the 2009 Women In Ag Conference in Kearney in February. Approximately 250 women from across the state were at the conference. Monica Braun and Jeff Reynolds attended the U.S. Small Business Administration Women’s Business Center’s Professional Development regional meeting in Denver in June. Adriana Dungan participated in the Heartland Latino Conference in Omaha, 2008 Latino Summit sponsored by the Nebraska Department of Education in partnership with the Mexican-American Commission and the Tri-State Panel on Current Economic Challenges.

Trainings – REAP staff took advantage of training opportunities throughout the year. Staff attended the Association for Enterprise Opportunity national conference in Virginia. It included excellent training to improve REAP services and technical assistance to better serve our client base. Monica Braun and Dena Beck attended a two-day Credit Analysis and Financing Training sponsored by the Nebraska Economic Developers Association.

Partnerships – Jeff Reynolds and Monica Braun represented REAP at the U.S. Small Business Administration Resource Partner meeting conference call in April 2009. All Nebraska SBA partners (Nebraska Business Development Center, Senior Corp of Retired Executives, SBA District Office staff, and REAP Women’s Business Center) discussed ways to work collectively and smoothly. Nancy Flock participated in the Sandhills Summit Panel, the first in a series of “Listen & Learn” meetings being held statewide and co-sponsored by the Partnership for Rural Nebraska, the Nebraska Rural Development Commission and the Rural Initiative. Attendees exchanged information about development needs and how programs could assist them. Regional Revitalization sessions were offered as a partnership with REAP, Nebraska Development Network-Central Region, and South Central and Central Nebraska Development Districts. Two Regional Revitalization workshops have taken place in 2009. One in Superior addressed housing and one in Taylor addressed Marketing Plans for Tourism businesses.

Office Hours & Collaborations – Business Specialists across the state continue to provide local office hours at numerous Chamber and Economic Development offices. The arrangement with local offices has provided an excellent and more efficient way of meeting clients and building partnerships with community leaders. REAP continues to sponsor and partner with a six-county region in Southeast Nebraska to provide trainings and coordinate the I2E club held in Nebraska City. Janelle Moran is extensively involved with this collaborative. We also partner with PK Partnership, a group of forward-thinking community members from Phelps and Kearney Counties, to provide trainings and much more. Dena Beck represents REAP in this collaborative.