Nashville, Tn., Jun 17, 2013 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today kicked off National Small Business Week by highlighting USDA’s actions to help rural small businesses create jobs, get access to capital and spur economic growth. He also announced the selection of recipients for a round of USDA’s Rural Business Enterprise Grants.
“Small businesses are the backbone of the economy in small towns and rural communities, just as they are in our biggest cities,” Vilsack said. “USDA supports small businesses by providing job training, business development opportunities, strategic community planning and other resources. We’re focused on making sure that Main Street businesses have the tools they need to grow.”
In Tennessee Vilsack announced nine projects that will receive funding.
In Jackson, West Tennessee Young Farmers and Homemaker Leadership Development, Inc. will receive $5,000 to fund the purchase of equipment and to develop leadership training materials for AgStar Leadership 101.
Henderson County Chamber of Commerce in Lexington will receive $7,700 to purchase and install upgraded software and technology equipment to assist area businesses.
The Charleston-Calhoun-Hiwassee Historical Society was awarded $20,000 to purchase equipment for the Heritage Visitor’s Center to assist tourism-based and related businesses.
The Crossville-Cumberland Chamber of Commerce will receive $2,500 to fund upgrades to their website to increase tourism and assist related businesses in the area.
The Cleveland Bradley Business Incubator in Cleveland will receive $6,576 to conduct a two-part technical assistance project aimed at expanding services to growing businesses.
The Humboldt Chamber of Commerce will receive $25,500 to purchase new computers that will be used to market the city to tourists, manufacturers and assist related businesses.
Rhea Economic & Tourism Council, Inc. in Dayton will receive $6,000 to develop marketing strategies to promote the county to prospective businesses as well as increase tourism and assist related business development.
Smith County Chamber of Commerce, Inc., in Carthage received $6,000 to upgrade their website and develop promotional tools to assist area businesses.
Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville received $30,000 to conduct a study of the feasibility of expanding the wholesale/retail meat production capacity in the Upper Cumberland Region.
"Local manufacturing is the backbone to many rural economies," said USDA Rural Development State Director Bobby Goode. "Keeping those business leaders connected with each other allows them to work together to improve their communities and expand job opportunities in the region."
Altogether, USDA business development programs have had a significant impact on rural communities – achieving record results. Since 2009, USDA has provided more than 15,000 loans and grants to help more than 60,000 rural small businesses. For more information on USDA’s business development programs visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/Business.html.
Rural Business Enterprise Grants and other USDA programs help rural small businesses manufacture new products, expand local food systems and create jobs. Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions for the grant. Please click here for a complete list of Rural Business Enterprise Grants awarded today.
More information on USDA Rural Development programs and local field office contacts is available online at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/TN-Home.html.
USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, infrastructure, community development, homeownership and affordable rental housing to improve the economic health of rural communities. During the last four years the agency has assisted more than 1.5 million Tennessee families and businesses in 158 communities, investing more than $3.3 Billion into local economies through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants.
Today’s announcement is one in a series of Small Business Week announcements the Department will make to highlight the Administration’s efforts to strengthen the rural economy. Secretary Vilsack also continued his call this week for Congress to pass a comprehensive, multiyear Food, Farm and Jobs Bill as soon as possible. Such legislation would allow USDA to continue its record support for small businesses that create jobs across rural America.
USDA continues to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).