BEERSHEBA SPRINGS, Tenn., Nov 02, 2011 -- At a time when cutting edge technology is on the forefront of consumer awareness, small business development and promotion is more important than ever to the health of rural communities. Now, with help from USDA Rural Development (RD), the Alliance for the Cumberlands is developing new and innovative ways to use technology to promote the region's rich heritage area.
RD Area Director Jerry Jolley today announced a $20,000 federal grant that will be matched by $10,000 from the Alliance to build a website to promote area businesses and the region's natural, cultural and historic resources as a part of the Let’s Go Plateau regional development campaign.
"Small businesses are the economic engine of rural communities, creating jobs and helping maintain a healthy, diversified local economy," said Jolley. "Alliance for the Cumberlands is a great partner to Rural Development and a leader for the communities they serve across the plateau."
According to Alliance Executive Director Zebulon Turrentine the Let’s Go Plateau campaign is designed to increase the economic value of the plateau's natural, cultural and historic resources by increasing eco-heritage tourism. "Sustainable tourism is a fundamental component among the region’s conservation initiatives," he said. "Our visitors are an important source of our region’s wealth and livelihood."
The Alliance is a partnership of public and private organizations committed to conserving the Cumberland Plateau's natural & cultural resources through programs that reflect the shared values of the region's businesses, communities and bodies of government. The Alliance service area includes 21 counties; Pickett, Overton, Fentress, Scott, Campbell, Claiborne, Putnam, Morgan, Anderson, White, Cumberland, Roane, Warren, Van Buren, Bledsoe, Rhea, Sequatchie, Grundy, Franklin, Marion and Hamilton Counties. www.allianceforthecumberlands.org.
Rural Development business programs help local governments and non-profit organizations improve local business infrastructure and promote job growth. Business loans provide needed financing for rural businesses and loan-guarantees are also available to help private lenders to increase the pool of investment capital available for business start-up, modernization and expansion in eligible rural areas.
USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, businesses, community infrastructure, homeownership and affordable rental housing in rural communities. Last year Rural Development assisted more than 1.5 million rural Tennessee families and businesses with more than $1.06 billion in financial assistance through affordable loans, loan-guarantees and grants.
For more information on Rural Development programs available in Upper Cumberland region contact the Rural Development Area Office in Cookeville at 931-528-6539 ext. 2, toll free at 1-800-342-3149 extension 1493, or visit us online at www.rurdev.usda.gov/tn.
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, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, or call (800) 795 -3272 TDD (615) 783-1397.