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Funding available to help micro- businesses in rural communities

Funding available to help micro- businesses in rural communities

Posted: Thursday, June 17, 2010 9:28 am

The Press 6.15.10 Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced that USDA is seeking applications for funding from organizations that support the development and ongoing success of rural micro-enterprises, which are generally businesses with ten or fewer employees.
“We need to embrace new strategies to help create a thriving rural economy,” said Vilsack.
“The Obama Administration and USDA understand that helping small, start-up businesses is fundamental in building a sustainable rural community. This new program will help provide access to capital, business-based training and technical assistance to the smallest of small businesses,” Vilsack said.
Through this program a Micro-enterprise Development Organization (MDO) may apply to borrow from $50,000 to a maximum of $500,000 in a given year. The funding may then be used to finance micro-loans of $50,000 or less for micro-enterprises and micro-entrepreneurs in rural areas.
The funds may also be used to provide business training and technical assistance to existing or potential micro-borrowers in rural areas. A limited number of grants will be available for MDO’s that provide business training and technical assistance programs for micro-enterprises and micro-entrepreneurs.
For fiscal year 2010, applications must be received by July 16. Beginning Oct. 1, 2010, applications will be accepted throughout the year and awarded on a quarterly basis.
Over $45 million is available in fiscal year 2010, which ends Sept. 30, 2010. Of this, $36.2 million will be available for loans, $7.6 million will be available for microlender technical assistance grants, and $1.3 million will be available for technical assistance-only grants. 
USDA Rural Development’s Rural Micro-entrepreneur Assistance Program is authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill).
USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, community infrastructure, homeownership and affordable rental housing in rural communities. Last year Rural Development assisted more than 866,000 Tennessee families and businesses with more than $619 million in financial assistance through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants.
For more information contact the Rural Development State Office in Nashville at 615-783-1300, toll free at 1-800-342-3149, or find the local office that serves your county at www.rurdev.usda.gov/TN.

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