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USDA seeks applications to support rural business development, job creation

The US Department of Agriculture announced that it is accepting applications to support economic development and create jobs for people in rural areas.

The agency is making this funding available under the Rural Business Development Grant program for eligible entities to support business opportunity and enterprise projects in rural communities. Eligible entities are rural towns, communities, state agencies, authorities, nonprofits, public institutions of higher education and non-profit cooperatives.

Business opportunity projects are used to identify and analyze business opportunities that will use local rural materials or human resources. Such projects must be consistent with any local and area-wide community and economic development strategic plans and are used to support other economic development activities in the project area.

Projects include the establishment of business support centers or to finance job training and leadership development in rural areas. Funding for business enterprise projects must be used to finance or develop small and emerging businesses in rural areas.

Luis R. García, USDA Rural Development acting state director for Puerto Rico, said eligible activities include repair or modernization of buildings, technical assistance to a small business such as feasibility studies or business plans, or an equipment purchase for leasing to a small or emerging business.  

Last year, Puerto Rico received $600,494 to assist rural businesses on job creation and to increase economic opportunities on the island. The institutions that received the assistance were Puerto Rico Manufacturing Extension Inc. (PRiMEX), Para La Naturaleza Inc., Puerto Rico Ranchers Association, the Pork Industry Promotion Fund, Forbes Foundation, Fundación Sila M. Calderon and Office for the Promotion and Human Development (OPDH, in Spanish).

Applications for grant funding, including all set-aside funds, must be submitted to the USDA Rural Development State Office for the state where the project is located by 4:30 p.m. local time on Feb. 28, 2022, agency officials said.

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

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