WASHINGTON, June 19, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is accepting applications for loans and grants to support business expansion, create jobs and increase economic opportunities in rural communities.
“Small businesses are the engine that drives job creation and investment capital coupled with business savvy provide the spark that gets that engine running,” Vilsack said. “This funding will help the nation’s rural microentrepreneurs strengthen their capacity to create jobs, grow their businesses and fuel the economy. USDA is working with local organizations to provide capital to help small business owners achieve higher performance.”
Funding is being provided through USDA’s Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP). The 2014 Farm Bill reauthorized the program through 2018.
For Fiscal Year 2015, more than $16 million is available in loans and grants.
RMAP provides loans and grants to Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDOs) to help microentrepreneurs – very small businesses with 10 or fewer employees – access capital to start or grow businesses.
MDOs use the funds to provide training and technical assistance to small businesses or to establish revolving loan funds that provide micro-loans, typically $5,000 to $50,000, to rural microentrepreneurs.