Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to johnc@cfra.org.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Hispanic Rural Business Center Finishes Second Year

Hispanic-Rural Business Center Finishes Second Year of Operation

Outreach to Nebraska’s rural Hispanic entrepreneurs increased four-fold in the Center’s small business development program

The Center’s Rural Enterprise Assistance Project recently completed its second year operating the REAP Hispanic-Rural Business Center. The Hispanic business center focused on four Nebraska communities during phase two: Schuyler, South Sioux City, Crete, and Madison. We anticipated phase two would impact 25 Hispanic startup and existing entrepreneurs, but the impact was actually much greater.

Highlights of the year included:
Over 100 Hispanic entrepreneurs received substantial technical assistance or training from REAP staff during the project year.
All of the pilot communities formed REAP Rural Business Roundtable groups that will provide a vehicle for continued training and networking.

All of the communities completed the five-session REAP Basic Business Training course in Spanish.

Business owners expressed gratitude for having access to services in their own language. Martha Martinez of South Sioux City said, “It meant a lot to have a program with a reputation as good as REAP’s supporting you within your needs in my own language.”

REAP Business Specialist Adriana Dungan implemented the Hispanic work in northeast Nebraska. Adriana noted, “It was nice getting a lot of response from business owners and the public in general; it speaks volumes of the need to have Spanish services.”

The pilot communities were chosen due to their high population rate of Hispanics. According to the 2000 U.S. Bureau of the Census, Schuyler (located in Colfax County) has a population of 5,371, with an Hispanic population of 2,464 or 45.9 percent of Schuyler’s overall population base. Crete (located in Saline County) has a population of 5,989, with an Hispanic population of 828 or 13.7 percent of Crete’s overall population base.

South Sioux City (located in Dakota County) has a population of 11,925, with an Hispanic population of 2,976 or 25 percent of South Sioux City’s overall population base. Madison (located in Madison County) has a population of 2,369, with an Hispanic population of 825 or 34.8 percent of Madison’s overall population base.

REAP has applied for funding to further expand outreach to Hispanic entrepreneurs. If approved, phase three will include piloting the REAP Hispanic-Rural Business Center approach on a regional basis in northeast Nebraska. At the same time, we will continue to research, develop, and build strategic partners to provide comprehensive New American services across all of rural Nebraska.

Funding for our work on phase two was provided by a Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) from USDA, the Mammel Foundation, the Nebraska Microenterprise Partnership Fund through the Nebraska Microenterprise Development Act, the Small Business Administration Microloan Program, and the Community Development Block Grant program through the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.

Jeff Reynolds, Center for Rural Affairs, jeffr@alltel.net or 402.656.3091

post a question or comment here or contact John Crabtree, johnc@cfra.org

Center for Rural Affairs
Values. Worth. Action.

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