The United States Department of Agriculture is accepting applications to the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance program.
This program provides loans and grants to Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDOs) to:
- To help microenterprises startup and growth through a Rural Microloan Revolving Fund.
- Provide training and technical assistance to microloan borrowers and micro entrepreneurs.
Microenterprise Development Organizations must demonstrate experience in managing a Revolving Loan Fund, or:
- Certify that it or its employees have received education and training from a qualified microenterprise development training entity so that the applicant has the capacity to manage such a revolving loan fund.
- Demonstrate that it is actively and successfully participating as an intermediary lender in good standing under the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Microloan Program or other similar loan programs as determined by the Administrator.
Microlenders may make microloans for qualified business activities and expenses including, but not limited to:
- Working capital.
- Debt refinancing.
- Purchasing equipment and supplies.
- Improving real estate.
- Grants are available to provide technical assistance to rural micro-entrepreneurs or microenterprises, up to $205,000 annually. Funding at the requested level is not guaranteed, and at least 15 percent matching funds are required.
- Loans of $50,000 to $500,000 may be used for establishing a Rural Microloan Revolving Fund managed by the Microenterprise Development Organization. Total aggregate debt is capped at $2.5 million.
- Rural areas outside a city or town with a population of fewer than 50,000 residents. Urbanized areas near a city of 50,000 or more may not be eligible.
- The borrower’s headquarters may be based within a larger city so long as the project service area is located in an eligible rural area.
- The lender may be located anywhere.