Kalee Olson, policy associate, firstname.lastname@example.org, 402.687.2100 ext. 1022; or Teresa Hoffman, senior communications associate, email@example.com, 402.687.2100 ext. 1012
LYONS, NEBRASKA – With U.S. House and Senate congressional committees considering funding for 2024, the Center for Rural Affairs and 30 organizations from across the country are asking for their continued support of rural small businesses.
On Tuesday, the groups, representing 22 states, sent a letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittees requesting $8 million in funding for the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP).
RMAP provides much-needed support for small businesses that strengthen our nation’s rural communities, the letter said. Through RMAP, direct loans and grants are provided to Microentrepreneur Development Organizations, such as the Center, who then provide technical assistance and microloans of $50,000 or less.
“Rural entrepreneurs face the unique challenge of diminishing resources for loan capital and business training,” the letter said. “The number of small town banks has steadily decreased, and many are less interested in offering small business loans.”
Kalee Olson, policy associate with the Center, said RMAP has proven its ability to fill this void in many communities, and increased funding will help ensure these benefits are available to more entrepreneurs as they establish and grow their businesses.
Since RMAP’s inception in 2008, approximately $36.5 million in grant funding and $97.1 million in loans have been distributed to MDOs in 45 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
This widespread interest demonstrates the program’s value and impact nationwide, Olson said, adding that strong businesses can attract new residents to rural communities.
“Continuing a trend that began during the pandemic, more people are choosing to relocate to smaller communities,” Olson said. “ Providing resources to rural small businesses will help entrepreneurs reinvigorate main streets and increase their potential to attract and support individuals and families new to rural areas.”