Your help is needed to save small business assistance program

We need your help. However, before I ask, I’d like you to think about a few questions.

Do you live or work in a small town? Or, did you grow up in a rural area?

Do you support local businesses, or would you like to see more local businesses in your community?

Do you miss seeing busy main streets in small towns?

If you answered YES to any of those questions, please keep reading.

The farm bill is headed to conference, and an important program that supports rural small businesses is at risk of expiring: the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP).

How does RMAP help rural America?

RMAP provides grants to organizations that help small businesses in rural communities access loans, training, and technical assistance.

Since the program’s implementation 10 years ago, RMAP has helped more than 2,100 small businesses across the nation. Chatterbox Brews illustrates RMAP dollars at work in a rural community: Tekamah, Nebraska, pop. 1,730. Owners Cindy Chatt and Britney Hansen (pictured right) relied on RMAP support for one-on-one counseling and technical assistance to secure financing to start their business. They revamped a building on Tekamah’s main street and turned it into a thriving restaurant that features daily specials, craft beers, and a seasonal farmers market.

And, RMAP is at work in other ways across the United States. For example, in Minnesota, five organizations receive RMAP funds to distribute to small businesses throughout the state. Southwest Initiative Foundation in Hutchinson, Minnesota, is one of those entities. In fiscal year 2018, they dispersed $100,000 to four new loan clients in their region. With the help of these funds, Minnesota businesses are investing additional resources in their communities that can help reinvigorate rural economies.

But, RMAP is at risk of losing its funding completely if we don’t act now. Small businesses throughout rural America are counting on you.

Will you call your representative today to ask them to support rural small businesses?

Call the switchboard in Washington, D.C., at 202.224.3121.

Here’s what you can say:

  • State your name and where you are from.
  • Share why rural small businesses are important to you. Feel free to share what you’ve learned in this email.
  • Ask your lawmaker to support funding for RMAP in the farm bill.

Thank you for taking action to support small businesses in rural America. If you contacted your representative, please let me know at coraf@cfra.org.