USDA Grants for Economic Development

USDA Rural Development Missouri State Director Anita J. “Janie” Dunning presented certificates of congratulations to three different projects in Northwest Missouri on August 30 during a ceremony at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Northwest Missouri State University, Northwest Missouri Enterprise Facilitation (NWMEF) and Nodaway County Economic Development Inc. (NCED) are all recipients of USDA Rural Development Rural Business Enterprise Grants.

Northwest has received $37,340 in grant funds that will be used in assisting their Market Opportunities for Regional Entrepreneurs (MORE) project. This project is designed to help small businesses, which are primarily agricultural related business, find new ways to add value to existing beef products or to find other uses for the products. The goal is to develop new markets which should increase profitability of the businesses, as well as saving and creating additional jobs in the beef industry.

NWMEF provides consulting services through a facilitator who teaches business owners how to better handle financial, marketing and other aspects related to their business. Their services are offered to businesses in a six-county area including Atchison, Andrew, Holt, Gentry, Worth and Nodaway Counties. NWMEF has received a $19,660 grant to help with the expenses associated with this operation.

NCED has received a $13,200 grant to help cover expenses associated with training and development, business plan competition sponsorship, database development and research. Training is provided to small business employees, whether by internships, employee analysis or job shadowing. Database development will be used to create a database of building space available to businesses in Nodaway County. This makes it easier for businesses to find facilities to buy or lease. Research funds will be used to purchase various reference materials which will provide useful tools for the businesses.

The Rural Business Enterprise Grant program may be used for eligible public bodies and non-profit entities to finance and/or develop small and emerging private business enterprises in rural areas. Eligible purposes are acquisition and development of land, easements and right-of-ways; construction or conversion of buildings, plants, machinery, access streets and roads, parking areas; technical assistance for private business enterprises and loans for startup operating costs and working capital.

Dunning said, “The mission of USDA Rural Development is to help provide assistance to our rural Missourians. These three projects show the variety of ways in which our funds enable our communities to expand by providing small businesses, entrepreneurs and individuals with resources so they do not have to keep re-inventing the wheel. This knowledge helps the interested individuals to become successful business owners, which in turn strengthens our rural economy and thereby strengthens our rural communities.”

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $172 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

Northwest’s MORE project representatives, Lurinda Gilliland, instructor of agricultural sciences, and Dr. Benjamin Blackford, assistant professor of management, received the $37,340 grant from State Director Janie Dunning.

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