News Release
Release No.STELPRD4012748
ContactLarry Yerich(907) 271-2424 ext. 125
(AUGUST 19, 2011)USDA ANNOUNCES RURAL BUSINESS ENTERPRISE GRANTS TO IMPROVE SERVICES FOR ALASKA RURAL COMMUNITIES
Anchorage, AK, Aug 19, 2011 --

@@USDA-Rural Development Alaska State Director Jim Nordlund today announced the selection of three Rural Business Enterprise Grants (RBEG) Program recipients for projects in Alaska. These grants will work to support small business and job creation opportunities, and train workers in rural communities.

"USDA Rural Development is working to ensure that rural communities have the tools they need to expand economic opportunities and improve their quality of life," Nordlund said. "These grants represent USDA's ongoing commitment to strengthen and support sustainable rural business opportunities that will create jobs."

The announcement today was made as part of the Obama Administration's week-long focus on the rural economy and the White House Rural Council, which is addressing key areas of need in rural America including helping rural small businesses access capital, expanding rural job search and training services, and increasing rural access to health care workers and technology.

USDA has a long, positive record of supporting projects in Alaska, as well as across America. Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant agreement. The following is a list of Alaskan organizations that have been selected to receive RBEG grants:

    1. Alaska Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Inc. (AMEP), $200,000

This grant will provide small business technical assistance though AMEP’s Alaska Rural Enterprise Agricultural Training Program in Bethel. The project will cover Technical Assistance for small business farming in rural Alaska through intensive on-farm training and technical assistance, mentoring and outreach programs.

These program services are structured with assistance and input of the projects’ key partners with the intent to accomplish the following goals:

      Enhance self employment in farming though technical assistance in agricultural production and farm management strategies that utilize sustainable agricultural practices and energy efficient facilities

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      • Provide technical assistance in business management and decision support strategies that enhance the financial visibility of beginning farmers

      • Provide technical assurance in marketing strategies that enhance the competitiveness of beginning farmers and support special projects for training coordination and communication networks.

    2. University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) Small Business Development Center (SBDC), $200,000

This grant provides funds to support the operations of the SBDC in the Bethel area. Funds will be used to staff the center with a Business Development Specialist who will continue helping small business owners and those looking to start up a business.

Services provided include one-to-one free business advising, market research assistance, business planning, financial management and free and low cost educational workshops.

    3. City of Tanana, $63,000

This is a project that will assist the city in getting a critical piece of equipment for their woody biomass heating plan. Through RBEG funds, the city will purchase a wood processing machine that small businesses will lease to improve production and make more wood available for heating and/or power delivery.