About NEF

The Nebraska Enterprise Fund

“By participating in the workshops and utilizing their resources, my business saw an increase of 10% revenue the first five months I started working with NEF. This is a lot for a business that had only seen an increase in revenue of 2% in the previous four years!”

Sergio Escorcia

Owner, Best Mobile LLC

Nebraska Enterprise Fund

Investing in the Underserved Small and Micro Business Owner.

Launching a small or micro business takes courage. It also takes capital and the insights that come from expert training and mentoring.

That’s where we come in – an ally dedicated to supporting you and your vision of success; a champion eager to partner for what’s possible.

We Are Nebraska Enterprise Fund. | A statewide microenterprise intermediary and Certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) providing business development services and financing to micro and small businesses across Nebraska.

Vision | The Nebraska Enterprise fund envisions a vibrant small business eco-system where every small and micro business has the opportunity to start, grow and prosper.

Mission | The Nebraska Enterprise Fund supports underserved communities by providing micro and small businesses with access to training, technical assistance and capital.

Who We Serve | NEF serves a target market of traditionally disadvantaged small businesses, including those owned by people of color, low-income people, women and veterans.

“We couldn’t have opened Mixins without NEF. They believed in our vision and gave us the tools we needed to become successful.”

Vandra Caldwell

Co-Owner, Mixins Rolled Ice cream

Supporting Financial Empowerment and Alleviating Poverty.

Since 1984

With multiple microprograms developing across Nebraska in the early 1990s, the state needed an organization to assist in procuring grant and loan funds to meet long-term operational and lending needs. Nebraska Enterprise Fund (NEF) launched in 1994.

A Focus on Innovation

1996

NEF begins making loans to business relending programs a year after raising its first loan capital.

1997

Awarded 501c3 non-profit status.

1998

Certified as a Community Development Financial Institution by the CDFI Fund.

2003

Launch of a new NEF website to educate businesses and connect them with micro program services.

2010

NEF debuts a new and improved data collection system, upgrading the system it unveiled seven years earlier.

 NEF makes its first Direct Loan and CD Guarantee.

2013

Jim Reiff succeeds Rose Jasperson as NEF Executive Director, leveraging 20+ years of micro/small business development experience to increase NEF’s outreach and impact.

2019

NEF celebrates its 25th anniversary of serving Nebraska entrepreneurs. In its first quarter-century, NEF provided $XX million in capital and support to more than XX small businesses in Nebraska and the surrounding region.

Over the years, NEF has continued to innovate and develop new products and systems for the field, including:

  • Microenterprise Information Referral System (MIRS) | linking microprograms with banks to serve unbankable customers; providing support for NEF’s Business Resource Directory.
  • Tax Preparation/Literacy Documents prepared with program partners | Helping businesses enter the formal economy by paying taxes.
  • New loan products | Filling gaps where businesses may not have access to capital.

[The Next Step | Expansion into Iowa]

NEF has maintained a strong presence in Omaha, Nebraska, serving a high percentage of low-income and immigrant and Hispanic entrepreneurs in the community. Just four miles to the east of Omaha is neighboring Council Bluffs, Iowa, the county seat of Pottawatomie County with a population of close to 100,000.

NEF has received an increasing number of inquiries from Iowa entrepreneurs and bankers with requests for loans in this area. With few other non-traditional lending options available for small businesses, NEF will expand services into Iowa in FY2021, focusing on the neighboring community of Council Bluffs and the Western portion of the state.

Your Goals Are Our Goals Too.

The Team at NEF

Nebraska Enterprise Fund staff are dedicated to supporting small and micro-business development in Nebraska. Let us help connect you to capital for your small business, training opportunities and mentoring.
Jim Reiff

Jim Reiff

CEO/President

Executive Director since 2013, Jim Reiff finds incredible reward in his role with Nebraska Enterprise Fund, setting the strategy and developing funding sources that ultimately connect NEF clients – hard-working small business owners – with capital, training, and mentoring.

Michelle Johnson

Michelle Johnson

Business Analyst + Underwriting Specialist

Michelle Johnson, NEF’s Business Analyst + Underwriting Specialist, began her journey in finance more than 20 years ago. She joined the NEF team in 2020, putting her extensive finance and risk background to work for micro and small businesses working to succeed in traditionally under-served communities.

Jane Olson

Jane Olson

Program Manager

With Nebraska Enterprise Fund since 2005, Jane Olson plays an integral role in helping NEF achieve our mission and serve our clients. In her role as Program Manager, Jane oversees the coordination and administration of the programs that connect our small and micro business owners to the capital, training, and mentoring so essential to ensuring the viability of their operations.

Jamel Hamilton

Jamel Hamilton

Deputy Director of Lending

BC Clarke

BC Clarke

Director Business Development

BC Clark, co-founder of the Metro Omaha Women’s Business Center, has served as NEF’s Director of Business Development since 2016. In addition to supporting NEF and our clients through program marketing and research, BC provides clients with technical assistance and helps them secure gap and direct financing, crucial capital that elevates a small business’s chances of success.

Our Loan Officers + Business Mentors Team 

NEF’s entire team of experienced Loan Officers + Business Mentors plays a crucial role in helping us serve our mission: To support underserved communities by providing micro and small businesses with access to capital, training and mentoring.

Our Loan Officers + Business Mentors work closely with owners and entrepreneurs to help them securing gap and direct financing. They also cultivate vital relationships with financial institutions, present workshops on various business management and financing topics, and provide real-world mentoring and technical assistance.

 Raquel Romero

Raquel Romero

Loan Officer + Business Mentor

Nicole Mitchell

Nicole Mitchell

Loan Officer + Business Mentor

Leonel "Leo" Martinez

Leonel "Leo" Martinez

Loan Officer + Business Mentor

Kristine Plunkett

Kristine Plunkett

Loan Officer + Business Mentor

Tonia Franklin

Tonia Franklin

Senior Loan Officer + Business Mentor

NEF Board of Directors 

The Nebraska Enterprise Fund in governed by a diverse, volunteer Board of Directors with guidance from its Advisory Committee

Kendall Scheer

Kendall Scheer

Board Chairperson

Nancy Williams

Nancy Williams

Boardmember

Joseph Hodges

Joseph Hodges

Vice Chairperson

Michael Storey

Michael Storey

Boardmember

David Wise

David Wise

Secretary/Treasurer

Shannon Filing

Shannon Filing

Boardmember

Dan Mauk

Dan Mauk

Board Emeritus

Ramone Calzada

Ramone Calzada

Boardmember

Mary Wilson

Mary Wilson

Boardmember

Eddie Sitzman

Eddie Sitzman

Boardmember

Funders

First National Bank Omaha Omaha Community Foundtion
U.S. Bank Opportunity Finance Network (OFN)
CIT (formerly Mutual of Omaha) SBA
Wells Fargo Nebraska Department of Economic Development
Great Western Bank Iowa West Foundation
Bank of the West Charles E. Lakin Foudation
USDA Weitz Family Foundation
CDFI Pay Pal
Sherwood Foundation TS Community Foundation
Kiewit Foundation William and Ruth Scott Family Foundation