|Aug 21, 2012 --
Starting a successful business in rural America is often fraught with challenges. Among these, limited access to business capital, small or nonexistent support networks, and a need for specialized skills are common barriers to entrepreneurship in small or isolated communities. For some rural Hispanic entrepreneurs seeking to start a business, these obstacles are further intensified by language barriers, limited business start-up information, and a lack of formal training.
To help build the economic development capacity of emerging rural entrepreneurs, USDA Rural Development provided a $25,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) for the Pasos al Éxito: Steps to Success microenterprise development program delivered in Spanish and English in ten rural communities across Oregon. In addition to supporting the development of a number of small businesses, the program is serving to establish a community of practice and strong local networks that will support new and existing rural businesses today and for years to come.
Developed and delivered by Oregon-based nonprofit Rural Development Initiatives, Inc., Pasos al Éxito offers training in personal and business finance, as well as instruction in starting a small business. In addition, experienced business professionals sign on to serve as mentors to program participants in the process of starting a home-based business or growing an existing small enterprise.
“I have received very valuable and necessary training on how to maintain my business in the market and how to grow and maintain this source of income for my family and, in the future, as a source of employment for other families,” said Raquel Padilla.
With training, technical assistance and mentoring through the Pasos al Éxito program, Ms. Padilla is currently developing a plan to expand her rapidly growing, home-based childcare business in Hermiston, Oregon. As more children are enrolled in her daycare service, she hopes to find a larger space and hire new employees.
Program: Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG)
Businesses Assisted: 120
Communities: Boardman, Hermiston, Klamath Falls, Molalla, Nyssa, Vale, Ontario, Umatilla, Irrigon and Silverton, Oregon