Microenterprise: The Key to Rural Survival

It’s the beginning of a new school year. In a few months the graduating high school class of 2008 will be spreading their wings taking that flight of independence. Many will venture out for higher education institutions, but will they ever migrate back home?
Entrepreneurship is one strategy with the potential to bring back the young to rural communities that few development strategies have. Surveys of high school students in Nebraska, for example, found that up to 80% would like to own their own farm or business.

Many times leaders of communities and citizens look past microenterprises and think that recruiting manufactures is the answer. But large manufactures do not meet the needs of many rural communities. Entrepreneurs add jobs, raise incomes, create wealth, improve the quality of life of citizens and help rural communities operate in the global economy.

Introduced by Senator Ben Nelson the Rural Entrepreneur and Microenterprise Assistance Program (REMAP), a $20 million annual grant and loan program with the express purpose to provide technical assistance and capital to new or expanding small businesses in rural areas, was included in the U.S. House of Representatives version of the 2007 farm bill.

The Center for Rural Affairs recently released a report that analyzed the REMAP. The report found that the program would potentially create up to 4,600 jobs in rural areas and would create over $8 million in rural household asset growth.

An initiative like REMAP is needed to provide rural people the opportunities they deserve.

View report: http://www.cfra.org/files/Microenterprise_in_2007_Farm_Bill.pdf


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