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USDA looks to assist socially disadvantaged businesses

José Otero-García, Rural Development state director for Puerto Rico. (Credit: © Mauricio Pascual)

José Otero-García, Rural Development state director for Puerto Rico. (Credit: © Mauricio Pascual)

The USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative is seeking applications for grants to provide assistance to socially disadvantaged business groups in rural areas. USDA is making $3 million in grants available, with a maximum award of $175,000 per recipient, said Administrator Sam Rikkers.

“Rural America is an incredibly diverse place with many types of businesses and business owners participating in the economy,” Rikkers said. “This funding will give small, rural businesses the technical assistance they need to compete in the global marketplace.”

José Otero-García, USDA Rural Development State Director for Puerto Rico, said the funding is being provided through the Socially Disadvantage Group Grant Program.

USDA provides grants to local cooperatives and other organizations that provide technical assistance to socially disadvantage groups in rural areas. Examples of technical assistance include providing leadership training, conducting feasibility studies and developing business and strategic plans.

Recipients eligible for these grants include groups of cooperatives, individual cooperatives or development centers that serve socially disadvantaged groups. The cooperatives or development centers can be based in any area, but the groups that receive technical assistance must be located in an eligible rural area.

USDA is encouraging applications for projects in census tracts with poverty rates of 20 percent or higher. All grants are awarded through a national competition. Applications must be submitted by Aug. 5, 2016 or electronically by Aug. 1, 2016.

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

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