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News Release

Release No. 0299.10
Contact:
Dane Henshall (202) 260-0996

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USDA ANNOUNCES FUNDING ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE TO MICROENTREPRENEURS IN RURAL COMMUNITIES

Start-up capital available to help rural small businesses

HILLSBORO, Mo., June 3, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today during the National Summit of Rural America that USDA is seeking applications to support the development and ongoing success of rural microentrepreneurs and microenterprises. Funding is available from USDA Rural Development's Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, which is authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill). The Rural Summit is an opportunity for rural Americans to share their vision and ideas for creating a more prosperous and more promising future for rural America.

"The Obama Administration and USDA understand that helping small, start-up businesses is fundamental in building a sustainable rural community," Vilsack said. "This new program will help provide access to capital, business-based training and technical assistance to the smallest of small businesses. We need to embrace new strategies to help create a thriving rural economy."

USDA assistance provided to rural areas under this program may include loans and grants to rural microenterprises and microentrepreneurs and business-based training and technical assistance grants to rural microborrowers and potential microborrowers. It also may include other activities as deemed appropriate by the Secretary to ensure the development of rural microenterprises.

Applications will be accepted throughout the year and awarded on a quarterly basis. For fiscal year 2010, applications must be received by July 16, 2010. The total amount available in fiscal year 2010 is $45.1 million. 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. More information on how to apply for funding is available in the June 3 Federal Register, page 31413, http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-13380.pdf.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of 6,100 employees located in the nation's capital and 500 state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $138 billion in loans and loan guarantees.

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