WASHINGTON, D.C. — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the availability of loan and grant funds to support rural microentrepreneurs and microenterprises.
"By supporting very small business enterprises through the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, USDA has been able to direct assistance to small firms that otherwise might not be able to obtain credit," said Vilsack. "This program has shown that even a modest investment of federal dollars can have a huge impact for the local economy in small towns across rural America."
"USDA Rural Development strives to improve the overall quality of rural communities," said Paco Valentin, USDA Rural Development Texas State Director. "By providing loans and grants through the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, we can assist with the development of local, rural businesses. These businesses will in turn benefit the community by creating job opportunities and providing needed goods and services to rural residents."
USDA's Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) was established under the 2008 Farm Bill to support the development and ongoing success of rural microentrepreneurs and microenterprises, which are defined as rural businesses with 10 or fewer employees. About $12.2 million will be provided to eligible applicants this year. Under the program, USDA may provide loans of up to $500,000 to Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDOs). They, in turn, make microloans for business start-up or development to eligible microentrepreneurs who are unable to obtain conventional credit elsewhere. Grants of up to $30,000 are available for MDOs to provide technical assistance and training, particularly in rural areas that have experienced significant outmigration.
RMAP applications are due by September 13, 2013. More information about how to apply is available in the August 14, 2013 Federal Register. View it here: www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-08-14/pdf/2013-19765.pdf, or by contacting USDA Rural Development Texas State Office Business and Cooperative Programs at (254) 742-9780.