August 27, 2013. Through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) eligible companies can expect to receive about $12.2 million this year. An eligible company can apply for a fixed rate loan of up to $50,000. To be an eligible company under this program a company needs to be a rural business with 10 or fewer employees and located in a rural area, which is defined as an area of a State not in a city or town that has a population of more than 50,000 inhabitants.
The USDA does not directly provide funds to eligible companies. Instead the USDA will loan up to $500,000 to Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDOs). These MDOs in turn provide loans and financing to eligible rural companies who would otherwise face difficulty securing the financing necessary to start, grow, or expand their business.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, when discussing the program, stated that “by supporting very small business enterprises through the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, USDA has been able to direct assistance to small firms that otherwise might not be able to obtain credit.”
RMAP applications are due by September 13, 2013. To explore options, or apply for funding, contact your local state office.