USDA Announces Landmark Investment Fund For Small, Rural Businesses

This week the USDA announced a new, landmark $150 million investment fund to grow small businesses and create jobs in rural America.

The fund, established as the first Rural Business Investment Company, is part of the new “Made in Rural America” export and investment initiative established to help meet the equity capital investment needs of smaller rural enterprises. Up until this point, USDA has offered loans and grants to businesses, but this will be the first time the USDA is able to leverage private investment capital to rural businesses.

“This new fund will allow innovative small businesses throughout rural America to access the capital they need to grow and create jobs,” said US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in a USDA press release. “One of USDA's top priorities is to help reenergize the rural economy, and we now have a powerful new tool available to help achieve that goal. This new partnership will allow us to facilitate private investment in businesses working in bio-manufacturing, advanced energy production, local and regional food systems, improved farming technologies and other cutting-edge fields."

The USDA is seeking applications for additional Rural Business Investment Companies. The businesses must be newly formed for-profit venture capital companies; have a qualified management team with experience in relevant venture capital financing or community development financing; and commit to invest in enterprises that will create wealth and job opportunities in rural areas with an emphasis on smaller enterprises. To see additional requirements and how to apply, click here.

To see the full announcement, follow this link.

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