MARTIN, Tenn., Jan 05, 2012 -- Opportunity to succeed is one of the building blocks to constructing a sound community infrastructure in rural areas. In West Tennessee, USDA Rural Development (RD) has once again partnered with WestStar to identify, encourage and equip community-minded people looking to improve the quality of life in their areas.
RD State Director Bobby Goode today joined University of Tennessee Martin Chancellor Dr. Tom Rakes and other local leaders to announce federal funding for three business development conferences geared at providing the necessary tools to help build our local economies.
"Small business is the economic engine of rural communities, creating jobs and helping maintain a healthy, diversified local economy," said Goode. "By partnering with WestStar we are able to provide educational opportunities for those looking to make a positive change in their areas."
The $20,000 grant will be combined with $29,270 in funds from WestStar to conduct the conferences throughout the year.
The “Working Women’s Conference”, scheduled for Feb. 10, will offer career development and education opportunities for attending women. The African American Leadership Conference, scheduled for April 19, will focus on educating attendees on the leadership positions available in diverse work environments. Finally, the West Tennessee Regional Entrepreneurship Conference scheduled for June 19 will focus on providing information for those who are looking to start their own business in West Tennessee.
For more information on these or other events offered by WestStar, log on to their website at http://www.utm.edu/departments/weststar/.
Others participating in the event included Sen. Lamar Alexander’s Representative Matt Varino, Rep. Stephen Fincher’s Representative Dale Hendon, Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture Julius Johnson, Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture Jai Templeton, State Representative Bill Sanderson, WestStar Executive Director Charlie Deal, WestStar Coorcinator Virginia Grimes, RD Area Director Harriet Cannon, Area Specilaists Van Wylie and Mary Hickman and Area Cooperative Student Roe Hughes.
Rural Development's rural business grant programs provide assistance to local governments and non-profit organizations that assist small businesses, develop local business infrastructure, provide job training, conduct feasibility studies or provide technical assistance to businesses and community leaders.
USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, infrastructure, homeownership and affordable rental housing in rural communities. Last year the agency assisted tens of thousands of Tennessee families and businesses, investing more than $737 million through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants.
For more information on Rural Development programs available in northwest Tennessee contact the Rural Development Area Office in Union City at 731-885-6480 ext. 4, toll free at 800-342-3149 ext. 1497 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