Columbus business owners receive award for entrepreneurial spirit

Veronica Reyes Spindola contributed to this blog.

With dreams of becoming successful entrepreneurs, Eduardo and Mary Rosa Morales opened their photography business, Venemex Productions, in Columbus, Nebraska, in 2008.

A year later, they discovered their business could benefit from training and guidance from the Center for Rural Affairs’ Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP). Through years of hard work, commitment to their business, and some help along the way, their entrepreneurial dreams have come true, and the business owners are being recognized for their dedication.

Mary Rosa and Eduardo were chosen to receive the 2019 REAP Entrepreneur Award which is presented annually to an individual or individuals who best exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit that defines and is crucial to the future prosperity of Nebraska’s rural communities.

“As soon as we learned about the courses offered by the Center for Rural Affairs, we did not hesitate to take them, knowing the importance of training for any entrepreneur,” said Mary Rosa. “And, we were not mistaken—the trainings and technical assistance have been very useful for our growth as owners of a small family business.”

Venemex Productions offers services such as photography and video for weddings, quinceañeras, and anniversaries, among other social events. They also offer studio and outdoor photography sessions for maternity, newborns, families, seniors pictures, sporting events, and more.

Through Center financial assistance and training, the business owners are now able to offer the option to shoot and edit videos in high definition for social, commercial, sports, musical, and fashion shows, and have hopes to open an education department to provide guidance for photographers in training.

“Mary Rosa and Eduardo are well known in the community, and right now have ranked first position with Facebook followers compared to other local photography businesses,” said Veronica Spindola, Latino loan specialist with the Center. “Venemex Productions has grown little by little with a lot of effort on their side and through Center guidance and financial support.”

Eduardo says receiving the REAP Entrepreneur Award has encouraged them to continue working hard to grow their business.

“I want to thank the Center for the recognition they gave us as entrepreneurs,” said Eduardo. “We are very excited because we see in this the fulfillment of many of our dreams and the achievement of many of our goals. Without their support, we would not be what we are today. This award is very motivating for us and for our family.”

The couple also credits the Center with helping Venemex Productions and other small businesses like theirs succeed.

“We have seen other businesses benefit from the Center’s services, and have better and greater results in the community,” said Eduardo. “We are very grateful to the Center because of all the work they have done in Nebraska. We are totally convinced that without the Center the growth of our business would be very slow.”