Small business entrepreneurship is a key source of job creation for rural counties. These businesses generate economic activity that can multiply throughout the community.
But, they also face many challenges, including difficulty in accessing capital and acquiring training for business planning and financial management.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) aims to address these challenges. RMAP provides funding that allows community organizations to assist entrepreneurs looking to get started. These same organizations can also make small loans of up to $50,000 to each rural business they assist. Examples of organizations that participate today include community development financial institutions, nonprofits, federally recognized tribes, and institutions of higher education.
In 2019, 95 community organizations in 32 states received grant funds to provide technical assistance to qualifying businesses; several of these also received revolving loan funds. Since 2010, grants have gone to nearly every state.
The program has assisted more than 2,100 small businesses with 10 or fewer employees. This total includes veterinary clinics, photographers, restaurants, and breweries. These and other businesses have also benefited from the technical assistance available through RMAP, which can include training in accounting, financials, marketing, customer service, and social media.
For rural entrepreneurs looking to make their dream of owning a business a reality, RMAP is a valuable tool. We encourage eligible entities to inquire today. Organizations interested in securing RMAP funding have until June 30 to apply.
For more information on the application process, visit rd.usda.gov/programs-services/