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Growing Your Own – The Sales Tax Loan Program, Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) & Valley County Businesses

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Gene Rahn (REAP) with Brad & Gina Babb, Sandhills Glass & Garage Doors

Gene Rahn (REAP) with Brad & Gina Babb, Sandhills Glass & Garage Doors (photo courtesy of REAP)

Economic development in rural communities can be a decidedly tricky business.  Access to capital can be both troublesome for communities and small businesses alike.  If rural communities wish to prosper, creative and effective microenterprise programs are essential to gap financing and business assistance.

Valley County has experienced very positive affects by the utilization of economic development loans provided by our sales tax loan program.  Low interest loans are made available to businesses address a variety of financing needs, and the impact has been immediate and measurable.  To date, 28 loans total have made in an amount of $1,650,195 that has fueled considerable economic growth in the community.

The Rural Enterprise Assistance Project has been an instrumental partner in our business growth and viability as well.  Gene Rahn, our area specialist for REAP, recently hit $6million in business assistance provided for rural communities.  From a REAP email (emphasis mine):

Rahn joined the REAP program in November 1996 and covers the north central area of Nebraska. Since that time, he has been responsible for placing 142 loans totaling over $1.5 M while also leveraging 86 loans totaling over $4.6 M due to his assistance for a total of over $6 M in loans and leverage. Rahn has also been responsible for countless hours of business counseling and facilitation of many small business trainings in his region. He has worked with close to 600 startup and existing entrepreneurs and helped train close to 2,000 entrepreneurs.

Kudos to Gene as his work has been instrumental in our own economic growth in Valley County.  One particular recipient is Brad and Gina Babb of Sandhills Glass and Garage Doors.  The Babbs used funding assistance from REAP with a business transition project to acquire the business they own today.

A hat tip today where its due – congrats Gene, Brad and Gina.

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Written by Caleb

February 3, 2009 at 5:08 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Eugene is wonderful to work with and has helped several businesses in our area.

    Congratulations to Sandhills Glass as well!

    Nancy Glaubke

    February 3, 2009 at 5:24 pm

  2. That is why I call him Gene-Gene the Loan Machine!
    Here is a link that tells more: http://www.cfra.org/newsrelease/2009/02/03/six-million-dollar-milestone-reached
    Dena Beck, REAP Business Specialist

    Dena Beck

    February 5, 2009 at 12:09 am

  3. […] A few comments on some of the opportunity available to local entrepreneurs in the Valley County region.  First, microfinancing can be found here locally with our sales tax loan program (low interest loans) as well as microenterprise financing through REAP.  Gene Rahn, whom we’ve blogged on before. […]

  4. […] the first time the Babbs have been recognized for their role in microfinance at the rural level.  Back in February, Gene Rahn and Brad and Gina were recognized as exemplary role models for microfinance in rural […]


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