Champaign, IL, Sep 14, 2011 -- Contact: Joan Messina (217) 403-6248
USDA Provides Funds to Boost Small Business Development in Illinois
Champaign, Ill., September 14, 2011 – Two Illinois organizations were selected to receive funds to promote job creation and business development, according to an announcement made today by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Arthur Area Economic Development Corporation and Two Rivers Resources Conservation and Development Area are receiving funding to establish new revolving loan programs to serve the needs of rural businesses.
“We want to create and sustain rural job opportunities and entrepreneurial efforts so rural residents can support their families and pay their mortgages while working close to home,” said Colleen Callahan, the Illinois state director for USDA Rural Development. “We are supporting these locally run revolving loan programs because the recipients can make the best decisions on how the funds can support area business and job growth.”
Arthur Area Economic Development Corporation (AAEDC) was selected to receive a $99,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) to establish the organization’s first revolving loan program. The RBEG program provides grants for rural projects that finance and facilitate development of small and emerging rural businesses and may fund a broad array of activities.
Formed in 2009, AAEDC serves the village of Arthur and all the area within an eight mile radius of the village. Arthur has only 2,200 residents, but the area has an unusually large number of businesses—more than 200—due in large part to the many highly skilled Amish craftsmen who live and work there. With a lot of input from local businesses, AAEDC has identified a list of ways that numerous area businesses can use small low-interest loans to strengthen their business operations.
Two Rivers Resources Conservation and Development Area, headquartered in Pittsfield, Ill., was selected to receive a $300,000 Intermediary Relending Program (IRP) loan to provide low-interest financing to businesses in their service area. Rural Development’s Intermediary Relending Program provides working capital and other support to local businesses through qualified intermediaries.
Over 40 years Two Rivers has supported more than 360 conservation and economic development projects in Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Schuyler and Pike counties. One of those projects was a revolving loan fund that was capitalized with a $99,000 Rural Development grant in 2007. Less than two years later, all the funds had been lent for two business expansions and two new businesses that are now providing 26 local jobs. Two Rivers has businesses waiting for loans from the new revolving loan fund.
In all, 69 awards totaling more than $15.5 million were announced today to rural promote economic development efforts. For a complete listing of the awards, click here: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/SupportDocuments/RD-RBEG-IRPAwardsAugust2011.pdf
In June, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the first White House Rural Council, chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The White House Rural Council is working throughout government to create policies to promote economic prosperity and a high quality of life in rural communities.
Rural Development has more than 40 programs that foster growth and economic stability in rural areas by providing affordable financing and technical assistance. Support is available for regional food systems, broadband and biofuel infrastructure, homeownership, business development and community needs. More information on USDA Rural Development programs is available on the web at www.rurdev.usda.gov/il.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).