U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director Vicki Walker announced today that USDA is accepting applications for loans and grants to support business expansion, create jobs, and increase economic opportunities in rural communities.
“USDA is working with local organizations to provide capital to help small business owners achieve their goals.” Walker said. “This funding will help microentrepreneurs throughout rural America strengthen their capacity to create jobs and grow their businesses.”
Funding is being provided through USDA Rural Development's Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP). The 2014 Farm Bill reauthorized this program through 2018. More than $16 million is available in loans and grants under this announcement.
The Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program provides loans and grants to Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDOs) to help microentrepreneurs—very small businesses with 10 or fewer employees—access capital to start or grow their businesses. The MDOs use the funds to provide training and technical assistance to small businesses or to establish revolving loan funds that provide micro-loans (typically $5,000 to $50,000) to rural microentrepreneurs.
Since the beginning of the Obama Administration, USDA Rural Development has invested $72.2 million in loans and grants through RMAP to support more than 390 projects that help very small business enterprises.
President Obama's historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses, and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way—strengthening America's economy, small towns, and rural communities.