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USDA opens call for rural economic development funding

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack (Credit: Wikipedia.org)

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack (Credit: Wikipedia.org)

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Monday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture 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 engine running” Vilsack said. “This funding will help the nation’s rural micro entrepreneurs strengthen their capacity to create jobs, grow their businesses and fuel 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 Micro-entrepreneur Assistance Program, or RMAP. The Farm Bill reauthorized the program through 2018. For Fiscal Year 2015, more than $16 million is available in loans and grants.

José Otero-García, USDA Rural Development State Director for Puerto Rico, said RMAP provides loans and grants to Microenterprise Developments Organizations to help micro entrepreneurs — 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 loans funds that provide micro-loans, typically $5,000 to $50,000, to rural micro entrepreneurs.

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.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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