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USDA Announces Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program Awardees

October 28, 2010

On Thursday, October 28, USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced the 75 awardees of grant and loan funds from USDA’s Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP).  Merrigan made the announcement in Lexington, Kentucky, one of 36 states in which projects will receive funding.

“This program creates opportunities for small businesses to prosper by giving them access to capital and it also helps to create new off-farm income opportunities that help to support owners of small and mid-sized farm operations,” Merrigan said.

RMAP leverages relatively small amounts of money (minimum $50,000, maximum $500,000), in the form of direct loans or grants, to Microenterprise Development Organizations in order to “to boost small business development, create jobs, and strengthen rural communities.”

RMAP is a new USDA program, created in the 2008 Farm Bill.  The program provides loans and grants to Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDOs), which in turn provide technical services and distribute microloans to rural microentrepreneurs.  Three categories of RMAP funding are available through MDOs in either loans or grants:

  1. fixed interest rate microloans of less than $50,000 to rural entrepreneurs for the development of microenterprises in rural areas;
  2. grants to to MDOs to provide training, operational support, business planning, market development assistance, and other services to rural microentrepreneurs; and
  3. grants to MDOs to provide marketing, management, and other technical assistance to microentrepreneurs who have already received or applied for a loan per section 1.

Congratulations to two NSAC member organizations that were awarded funding in this initial funding cycle for the program —  the Center for Rural Affairs in Nebraska and Fay-Penn Economic Development Council in Pennsylvania.

To read the USDA press release and see a full list of awardees, click here; read more about RMAP here (USDA) or here (NSAC Grassroots Guide).

Categories: Grants and Programs, Rural Development

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