WASHINGTON, May 6, 2016 – USDA announced Friday at the tail end of National Small Business Week that it will invest $39.3 million in rural small businesses.

“More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and these businesses create two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a release. “Supporting small businesses and rural communities is vital to our economic health. This funding enables communities to provide important support services and access to capital for rural, small businesses.”

The funding will go to 68 projects in 26 states through loans and grants, USDA said.

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One of the recipients will be Webster City, Iowa, which will receive a $1 million Rural Economic Development loan and a $300,000 Rural Economic Development grant to construct a 16,400-square-foot addition to Van Diest Medical Center. USDA said the new space will house a medical clinic, meeting room and pharmacy, and the hospital and its satellite clinics will be implementing a new medical records system.

Six economic development groups will receive $3.1 million through the Intermediary Relending Program to capitalize low-interest loan funds for rural businesses. Finally, the Rural Microentreprenuer Assistance Program will provide seven businesses with $3.8 million through revolving loan funds and technical assistance grants.

Since the beginning of the Obama administration, USDA Rural Development has invested $11 billion in 103,000 small or start-up rural businesses; helped 1.1 million rural residents buy homes; funded nearly 7,000 community facilities such as schools, public safety and healthcare facilities; financed 180,000 miles of electric transmission and distribution lines; and helped bring high-speed Internet access to nearly 6 million rural residents and businesses, USDA says.


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