COLUMBUS, Ohio, Dec. 09, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture Ohio State Director Jonathan McCracken today announced that the department is investing $11.2 million to help create new and better market opportunities and expand essential services for rural people, businesses, and entrepreneurs in Ohio.
“Rural Ohio is critically important to our nation’s economy,” said McCracken. “The investments we’re announcing today demonstrate USDA’s commitment to the rural businesses that are creating jobs and increasing new and better market opportunities across Ohio.”
The funding will help keep resources and wealth made by rural people right at home through affordable financing and technical assistance. It will help rural Americans start businesses and allow small business owners to grow. It will also open the door to new economic opportunities for communities and people who historically have lacked access to critical resources and financing.
For example, in Hancock County, Hancock Wood Electric Cooperative will use a $300,000 Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program to establish a revolving loan fund. The initial loan will be used to purchase a Fire Truck for the Northwest Hancock Joint Fire District. This Fire District services the Village of McComb, Pleasant Township and Portage Township. Basic fire protection is considered critical infrastructure. Without this service, companies cannot continue to expand or attract new residential housing units to fill employee demand.
In Marion County, Wings of an Angel will use a $405,000 Business and Industry Loan Guarantee to purchase a building for conversion into an adult daycare center for the rural residents in and around Marion County. Wings of an Angel is a nonprofit with a mission to provide opportunities for people with disabilities to become more self-sufficient in their everyday lives. This funding is expected to save six jobs.
In Washington County, Appalachia Ohio Manufacturers Coalition will use a $715,081 Rural Innovation Stronger Economy grant to identify and create jobs. They will also train a new workforce to fill those jobs by making connections between rural Appalachian area and industry clusters that show potential for growth in the Appalachian region. Appalachia Ohio Manufacturers Coalition is focused on aligning the learning system with the needs of the business community to support economic growth and higher quality of life in southeast Ohio.
In Franklin County, the Economic and Community Development Institute will use a $38,929 Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program grant to renew a grant that supports an existing revolving loan fund. This microenterprise development organization makes micro loans to small businesses in 26 counties around the state. The rural small businesses that benefit from this funding are independent establishments that are part of the fabric of the community and local Main Street business district.
In Pike County, the Community Action Committee of Pike County will use a $16,843 Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program grant to provide support to microloan customers of a revolving loan fund originally established by Community Action Committee of Pike County in 2011. Technical assistance is provided through classes and by offering personal support in subjects such as marketing, business planning, strategy, and financial management, among other activities. Many of these loans are a source of genuine help to very small rural businesses or startups unable to find financing elsewhere in Pike County. This project will allow the organization to work with its customers to make their small rural businesses as successful as possible.
USDA is making eight awards through three programs specifically designed to create economic opportunities for people and businesses in rural areas. These programs are the Business and Industry (B&I) Loan Guarantees, , the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program, Rural Innovation Stronger Economy Grants program, and the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.
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