The U.S. Census Bureau counts one of every ten Nebraskans as Hispanic, and more are becoming entrepreneurs.
Juan Sandoval, the Center’s director, says they help rural Latino entrepreneurs build business skills and get loans.
“We are in the top ten Small Business Administration lenders in the country, and people notice that we are doing a very good job stimulating the economy in Nebraska and opening small businesses,” Sandoval tells Nebraska Radio Network.
During the last decade, none of the Center’s Hispanic clients defaulted on a loan.
Sandoval’s staff processed nearly 80 loans over the previous five years totaling $1 million. Almost half of those happened last year.
“People are reaching out a little more,” he says. “They know what REAP is doing for Latinos in Nebraska. I think also contributing to it is we have two loan specialists in the area.”
Construction is the number one business endeavor that Sandoval helps Latinos start.
“But we are not only limited to construction,” he says. “We do restaurants. We do food trucks, cleaning services, a little bit of retail, and probably the one that is not as busy as the others is professional services.”
National Hispanic Heritage Month is underway now through October 15.