Candler, North Carolina, Aug 15, 2012 -- USDA Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Doug O’Brien and other senior Obama Administration officials today toured a project by the local winner of the Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge. The project will spur job creation and economic growth in western North Carolina.
“The announcement of this winner marks another step in the Administration’s commitment to help create jobs and economic opportunities,” O’Brien said. “WNC Agri Ventures is a perfect example of a successful rural partnership that will support entrepreneurship and help create jobs.”
The trip began with Administration officials touring the Blue Ridge Food Ventures kitchen incubator, followed by a roundtable with local stakeholders to discuss the long-term economic impact of the WNC project. WNC Agri Ventures is a collaboration between the Advantage West and Land-of-Sky Regional Council in Asheville. The grantees will provide assistance in sustainable agriculture and forest products sectors.
The Rural Jobs Accelerator Challenge is a national initiative to support rural partnerships that are critical components of the Obama Administration’s efforts to support small businesses. By leveraging local assets, these partnerships can do even more to help entrepreneurs and small businesses foster innovation, increase competitiveness and employ highly skilled workers, all of which are critical to long-term economic growth in their regions.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $170 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.
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