Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is accepting applications for loans and grants to support business expansion, create jobs and increase economic opportunities in rural communities.
"Small businesses are the engine that drives job creation and investment capital coupled with business savvy provide the spark that gets that engine running" Vilsack said. "This funding will help the nation's rural microentrepreneurs strengthen their capacity to create jobs, grow their businesses and fuel the economy. USDA is working with local organizations to provide capital to help small business owners achieve higher performance."
Funding is being provided through USDA's Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP). The 2014 Farm Bill reauthorized the program through 2018. For Fiscal Year 2015, more than $16 million is available in loans and grants.
Details about how to apply for this are on page 35299 of the June 19 Federal Register. Application forms may be obtained from any USDA Rural Development State Office. RMAP 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 businesses. 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 the RMAP program to support more than 390 projects that help very small business enterprises.
For example, in 2014, South Dakota Rural Development awarded a $500,000 loan and a $100,000 grant to GROW South Dakota based in Sisseton to capitalize a revolving loan fund to make microloans to rural microentrepreneurs and microenterprises; and awarded a $400,000 loan to Glacial Lakes Area Development (GLAD) based in Britton to capitalize a revolving loan fund which provided loans and technical assistance to rural microentrepreneurs in Marshall, Day and Roberts Counties.
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.