Small Business

The most effective development strategy for rural communities is small entrepreneurship – locally owned and operated small businesses.

Our Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) is committed to strengthening rural communities through small, self-employed business development. We offer four essential services: financing (microloans), business training, technical assistance, and networking.

Call on REAP when you are thinking of starting a small business or if you already operate a small business in Nebraska. You can find your nearest REAP business specialist here. Through REAP you can create a business plan, research potential markets and marketing ideas, discuss management issues with experienced business specialists, and apply for a small business loan.

Started in 1990, REAP has provided services to numerous micro/small businesses throughout Nebraska. (A microbusiness is defined as one with 10 or fewer employees.) We've placed more than $16 million in loans and leveraged over $23 million in additional funds from other sources. Check out a timeline of our program here.

REAP is a proud member of the Nebraska Small Business Collaborative, extending microenterprise businesses technical assistance and microloans in all distressed areas of Nebraska.

Resource

The Nebraska Microenterprise Handbook, “Manual de la Microempresa de Nebraska,” has been published in English and Spanish by the Community Economic Development Clinic at Creighton University. Find out more.

Small Business Notes

 

Rural Rapport - Facebook Live

Join us each Tuesday at noon for our Facebook Live series, Rural Rapport. Each week, a Center staff member will share a resources and information on a range of topics. 

Can't watch it live? No problem. Watch anytime at facebook.com/ruralaffairs

Here are the topics our staff have presented so far: 

Center for Rural Affairs May and June 2020 Newsletter

The Center for Rural Affairs is committed to continuing our work for opportunity and justice for everyone in rural America during the rapidly evolving response to the coronavirus.

COVID-19 and the ripple effects will create new challenges for rural people and rural places. Our work may look different in the days ahead, but we will continue to serve our mission in all ways possible.

File attachments: 

Newspaper owner strives to keep community connected

Norma Cell Marquez had a desire to ensure the Latino community was informed of current events in Nebraska. Her dream was to keep people up to date in Spanish, so no one was left out of the loop on important topics such as health, immigration, nutrition, and education.

She made that dream come true in August 2016 when she took over Buenos Dias Nebraska, an all-Spanish print and digital newspaper based in Grand Island.

Your View: Think small communities

They may not be big, but small businesses are having a huge impact in your rural community. Yet, when the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law, Congress left them out.

While many businesses, such as retail, restaurants, salons and care providers, have been allowed to reopen amid new restrictions due to coronavirus concerns, small rural business owners with loans through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) continue to face challenges, with many worried they may have to close their doors.

Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce contributes to Latino community

For more than a decade, the Center for Rural Affairs’ Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) and the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, in Columbus, Nebraska, have enjoyed a productive partnership.

Various staff members have taken the reins on projects throughout the Latino community. Most recently, Chamber officers Jeanne Schieffer, president, and Sandie Fischer, events planner and entrepreneur/membership developer, have worked diligently to make sure these projects and events have encouraged Latino entrepreneurs to start and expand their businesses in Columbus.