News Release
Release No.STELPRD4016794
ContactLarry Yerich(907) 271-2424 ext. 125
Anchorage, Alaska, Jun 19, 2012 --

@@USDA-RD Alaska State Director Jim Nordlund today announced the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has been awarded a USDA-RD Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) to support small business; job creation opportunities and training workers in Native Alaskan communities.

"This grant represents USDA's ongoing commitment to strengthen Tribes, tribal businesses and Tribal governments while supporting sustainable rural business opportunities that will create jobs,” said Nordlund. “The Obama Administration is working to ensure that members of Tribes have the tools they need to expand economic opportunities and improve their quality of life,” he added.

This grant provides funds to support the operations of the SBDC in the Bethel area. Funds will be used to continue operations which provide technical assistance to small business owners and those looking to start up a business. "These funds help ensure the Alaska SBDC will continue assisting entrepreneurs in rural Alaska to access credit, create jobs, and grow their local economies,” said Debi Fowler, Alaska SBDC State Director.

Today’s announcement, follows last week’s announcement by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to implement measures that will make it easier for individuals living in Substantially Underserved Trust Areas (SUTA) to obtain USDA funding to improve basic services, including water and sewer systems, broadband and electric infrastructure. These measures are a crucial step for American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders to build modern utility infrastructure, create jobs and improve their quality of life. The enhancements are being implemented through a final regulation published in the Federal Register.

The $250,000 grant announced today is administered through USDA-Rural Development's Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program. This program provides grants for rural projects that finance the development of small and emerging rural businesses, help fund distance learning networks, and help fund employment-related adult education programs. Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant agreements.

USDA-Rural Development administers and manages utilities, housing, business and community facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $165 billion in loans and loan guarantees.

The Obama Administration has set goals of modernizing infrastructure by providing affordable health care, expanding educational opportunities for students in rural areas, and providing broadband access to 10 million Americans. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents and improve the quality of life in rural America.

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