WASHINGTON, June 17, 2013 - USDA kicked off the start of National Small Business Week by announcing the recipients of $4.7 million in grant funds today. 

The 54 Rural Business Enterprise Grants were awarded through the USDA Rural Development Office, and the money will be dispersed among recipients in 21 states. The grants are designed to improve the quality of life in rural America by increasing tourism, creation of regional food hubs, value-added farming, and renewable energy and renewable resource manufacturing.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said the grants will strengthen both rural communities and the small businesses they support.

"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."

Part of the goal of these grants is to serve “historically underserved communities” to help them rebuild their economies. Vilsack said this is part of a plan to build the communities for long-term growth.

“I think it’s important for folks to understand that we have a plan and a framework for rebuilding the rural economy and attracting business and industry opportunity in terms of being able to retain and attract young people,” Vilsack said. 

For a complete list of grant recipients in all 21 states, click here


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