In Rural America Small Business Is King

Greater numbers of rural people are self employed or work for small business than in urban areas. Small businesses also create most of the new jobs in rural America, and during an economic downturn our economies rely even more heavily on the ingenuity of rural people as they start new businesses that rebuild our economic prospects.
Investing in small businesses also helps revitalize our main streets and build our communities. That is why I was pleased to hear recently that Washington is paying attention to the needs of rural small businesses.

In the coming month the USDA will launch a new program to support rural entrepreneurs as they start up and expand small businesses. The new Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program will make grants to organizations that provide technical assistance and make small loans to businesses. The program was one of the victories for rural America in the 2008 farm bill.

We also received great news with the release of the President's budget this month. The budget proposes a six-fold increase in funding for the microentrepreneur program expanding it to $26 million annually. That is an excellent start in the effort to expand the reach of the program and help set rural America, and all of America, back on track.

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