Stevens Point, WI, Feb 01, 2011 -- CONTACT:
Kevin Tuttle, Public Information Coordinator
Cell: 715-345-7615 x154 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washburn County Economic Development Corporation To Receive Microloan and Technical Assistance Funding from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development
To Boost Business and Job Creation and Provide Opportunities in Washburn County
STEVENS POINT, WI – February 2, 2011 – The Washburn County Economic Development Corporation was recently awarded funds to make loans to boost small business development, create jobs, and strengthen the economy of Washburn County. The funding is being provided through the USDA Rural Development Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP), which was authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of the 2008 Farm Bill.
The Washburn County Economic Development Corporation (WCEDC) is not a county operation, although it receives a portion of its operating budget from Washburn County. The WCEDC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has operated since 2002. The WCEDC staff consists of an Executive Director Richard Hartmann and an Administrative Coordinator Marge Quinn and is directed by a ten-member volunteer board that represents specific areas of the county. The WCEDC mission is to, “expand the tax base, create new jobs, and retain existing businesses in Washburn County. The WCEDC receives it funding from Washburn County, a contract for services to market and manage revolving loan funds from the Washburn County Industrial Development Agency, private business memberships and grants and aides from a variety of sources.
According to Stan Gruszynski, USDA Rural Development State Director; “This program provides direct support for rural small business development by offering technical assistance and training to start-up small businesses. It might not seem like a lot, but often times it is enough to get a start. This program creates opportunities for small businesses to prosper by giving them access to needed capital when it is most critical.”
The RMAP will provide direct support for small business formation and offers technical assistance and training to small businesses. The funding will also provide employment opportunities through investments, training and management assistance.
The WCEDC was one of seventy-five successful national applicants under the grant competition, one of six in Wisconsin. The EDC will receive a $200,000.00 low interest (2 percent), long-term (20 years) loan to re-lend to eligible small new and existing businesses (10 or fewer employees) in the county. The maximum loan amount will be $50,000.00. The borrower will have to provide a match of 25 percent of the loan amount. This match can include equity in the business, cash and/or in-kind contributions toward the project loan.
Gruszynski goes on to say that this initiative reflects the Obama Administration's commitment to rebuilding and strengthening rural communities.
The purpose of Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Programs 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 http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_RMAP.html
USDA Rural Development is the lead federal agency for rural development needs returning nearly $936 million dollars this past year to rural Wisconsin communities. Funds are used to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technological infrastructures. Further information on USDA Rural Development programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting the web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/wi.