Ag Ventures Alliance, a business development group, has announced a $50,000 grant to the Iowa Foundation for Microenterprise and Community Vitality for its Iowa MicroLoan Program. The grant allowed the Iowa MicroLoan Program to secure a $500,000 revolving microloan fund and $105,000 technical assistance grant through the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program authorized by the U.S. Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008—commonly known as the 2008 Farm Bill.
"The Rural Microentreprenuer Assistance Program, or RMAP, will provide loans up to $50,000 and technical assistance to rural Iowa businesses and entrepreneurs," says Ag Ventures Alliance board member Clarence McGregor. "A portion of the businesses created are likely to be involved in local food systems and value-added agriculture ventures, which is consistent with the mission of Ag Ventures Alliance."
"The new RMAP program provides direct support for small business formation and expansions, plus it offers technical assistance and training to the loan clients before and during the term of the loans," says USDA Rural Development Agency state director Bill Menner. "This initiative continues efforts to rebuild and revitalize rural communities. In many cases, an entrepreneur needs only a small amount of money—a microloan—to get started. This program creates opportunities for small businesses to prosper by giving them access to capital and creating new off-farm income opportunities that help to support owners of small- and mid-sized farm operations."
The program is scheduled to begin in early 2011. For more information, contact the Iowa MicroLoan Program office by phone at 515-212-0182, e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the Web at www.iowamicroloan.org.