The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is investing more than $620,000 to support business development and expansion in 10 rural Oregon counties, announced State Director John Huffman today. These investments will help to preserve 334 jobs while creating an additional 172 positions in rural communities around the state.
"We're proud to support local efforts to bolster small businesses in rural communities across Oregon," said Huffman. "By providing resources and training, the grant recipients will help rural entrepreneurs and business owners open their doors or expand."
The nonprofit The Next Door, Inc., for example, is receiving a $35,980 grant to support Latino small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in the Mid-Columbia Gorge region. Through its Programa Promoviendo Prosperidad (Promoting Prosperity Program), the nonprofit will help Latinos build sustainable small businesses and increase their financial stability by providing technical assistance with business licenses, financial literacy, and access to capital. This project will help local businesses retain 140 jobs while creating an additional 11 jobs in the small, rural towns of the Columbia River Gorge.
The rural town of Independence will support food-based entrepreneurship in Polk and Marion counties. With a $99,520 grant, Independence will develop a rural food hub that will provide a shared commercial kitchen, micro-retail marketplace, and community event space located at the coworking space Indy Commons. This food-based entrepreneurship project will create 10 jobs and retain another nine jobs in this rural area while supporting business success and propelling growth in the food industry.
The nonprofit Sustainable Northwest is receiving a $44,000 grant to increase market demand for electric agricultural equipment in central Oregon. In a partnership with the Wy'East Resource Conservation and Development District, Bonneville Environmental Foundation, and Forth, Sustainable Northwest will implement an Electric Tractor Demonstration and Analysis project. The adoption of this equipment throughout Hood River, Klamath, Lake, and Wasco counties will reduce reliance on imported fossil fuels, increase fuel savings, reduce maintenance costs, and improve the health and working conditions of farm workers.
An additional eight Oregon municipalities, nonprofits, and Tribes are receiving grants to help them provide technical assistance and training to rural small businesses. The funding is being provided through USDA's Rural Business Development Grant Program and is contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of their grant agreements.
The Rural Business Development Grant Program supports targeted technical assistance, training, feasibility studies, and other activities leading to the development or expansion in rural areas of small and emerging private businesses with fewer than 50 employees and less than $1 million in gross revenue. Public bodies, government entities, Indian tribes, and nonprofits are eligible to apply for funding to help them provide technical assistance. One application window is typically announced each year.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing, community facilities such as schools, public safety, and health care facilities; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. Learn more at www.rd.usda.gov/or.