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USDA opens grant program to help expand regional economies

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Business-Cooperative Service unveiled a new grant program to help rural communities create good-paying jobs and support new business opportunities in high-growth fields.

Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) is intended to help rural communities identify and maximize local asset and connect to networks and industry cluster within their region. The new grant encourages a regional, innovation-driven approach to economic development.

RISE provides grants of up to $2 million to consortiums of local governments, investors, industry, institutions of higher education, and other public and private entities in rural areas,” said Luis R. García, acting state director for USDA Rural in Puerto Rico.

The funds may be used to form job accelerator partnerships and create high-wage jobs, start, or expand businesses, and support economic growth in the rural areas of their region.

Funding may also be used to establish and operate innovation centers and partnerships, such as integrating rural businesses into new supply chains, providing workforce training, and identifying community assets. To help ensure long-term and sustainable community and economic development, award recipients must support projects for at least four years.

Applicants are encouraged to contact Michelle Torres, Businesses & Cooperative Program Director, (787) 766-5412 (michelle.torres@usda.gov ) ahead of the application deadline for additional information about the program or the application process.

Applications will be accepted electronically at Grants.gov through Aug. 2, 2021.

USDA is hosting a webinar June 22, 2021, at 11:30 a.m. to help stakeholders and potentials applicants. To register click HERE.

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

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