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News Release
Release No. STELPRD4007686
ContactVicki Schurman402-437-5563
Printable Version  Printable Version

Norfolk, Nebraska, Nov 23, 2010 -- Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today announced that USDA has selected recipients in 36 states to receive funds to make loans to boost small business development, create jobs, and strengthen rural communities. The Center for Rural Affairs, Nebraska Enterprise Fund, and Northeast Economic Development Inc. in Nebraska are three of the recipients announced. The funding is being provided through the Rural Microentreprenuer Assistance Program (RMAP), which was authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill).

The Center for Rural Affairs (CFRA) of Lyons, NE was selected to receive a $400,000 loan and $100,000 grant that, through the Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) of the CFRA, rural communities will be strengthened through small, self employed business development. Rural areas of Nebraska’s 93 counties will be assisted.

The Nebraska Enterprise Fund of Oakland, NE will receive a $300,000 loan and $75,000 grant to work collaboratively with other microenterprise delivery organizations to assist with training, technical assistance and loan preparation. Project will be used in the rural areas of Nebraska’s 93 counties.

Northeast Economic Development, Inc. of Norfolk, NE will utilize a $500,000 loan and $105,000 grant to provide technical assistance and training to the targeted populations of Native American tribes, Hispanics, Sudanese and Somalis in a 25 county area in northeast and north central Nebraska. Assistance will be provided to women, the working poor, and Native Americans.

"This program provides direct support for small business formation and offers technical assistance and training to small rural businesses," Merrigan said. "This initiative continues the effort of the Obama Administration to rebuild and revitalize rural communities. In many cases, an entrepreneur needs only a small amount of money, a microloan, to get started. This program creates opportunities for small businesses to prosper by giving them access to capital and it also helps to create new off-farm income opportunities that help to support owners of small and mid-sized farm operations.

Merrigan said microlending programs can make a substantial difference by leveraging comparatively small amounts of money.

The purpose of RMAP is to support the creation, development and ongoing success of rural microentrepreneurs and microenterprises. Under the program direct loans and grants are made to Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDOs). The MDO uses the loan funds to establish, or recapitalize an RMAP-funded rural microloan revolving fund.

Eligible applicants may include microenterprises defined as a sole proprietorship located in a rural area or a business entity, located in a rural area, employing 10 people or fewer that are in need of $50,000 or less in business capital and/or in need of business based technical assistance and training. A microentrepreneur is defined as an owner and operator, or prospective owner and operator, of a microenterprise who is unable to obtain sufficient training, technical assistance, or credit other than under the RMAP. For more information visit

Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant and loan agreement.

For additional information on the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program in Nebraska, contact Deborah Drbal at (402) 437-5558 or

Last Modified:12/12/2011 
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