Magazine article Rural Cooperatives

1890s Land Grant Institutions to Use USDA Funds to Promote Business Growth, New Jobs

Magazine article Rural Cooperatives

1890s Land Grant Institutions to Use USDA Funds to Promote Business Growth, New Jobs

Article excerpt

Fifteen 1890s Land Grant Universities are receiving nearly $1.8 million in business and technology development assistance from USDA Rural Development. These funds will provide outreach and technical assistance in developing new businesses, including cooperatives, and to create employment opportunities in under-served rural communities, and to promote use of Rural Development programs.

"USDNs partnership with 1890 Institutions is critical to the development of new business opportunities in under-served areas and supports President Bush's economic plan to create jobs in rural America," said Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman. "I commend the 1890 Institutions for placing a priority on integrating new technologies into local business initiatives. It is critical to the ability of entrepreneurs to compete domestically and globally."

The 1890 Institutions have some of the best agricultural science and business education programs in the nation. Through the cooperative agreement, USDA will be building upon the strength of these programs to ensure that quality education related to small business development is also available in these communities.

"Underserved communities and businesses are benefiting from the effort to match up the technical and financial resources of USDA Rural Development with the technical business expertise at the 1890 Institutions," said Agriculture Acting Under Secretary for Rural Development Gilbert Gonzalez.

Gonzalez said that USDA has a strong track record of support for such 1890 initiatives and cited two examples of how the funds have created new economic opportunity and improved the quality of life for residents in economically challenged communities. For example, the Center for Rural Life and Economic Development at Alcorn State University Entrepreneurial Outreach program has provided training and technical assistance to individuals in business and planning to start new businesses in its five-county area of Southwest Mississippi. In addition to the awards listed below, $75,000 grants were issued to: North Carolina A&T State University; Tennessee State University; Virginia State University, and West Virginia State University.

Other funds have been allocated for the following projects:

Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Ala.--$150,000 for strengthening entrepreneurial and business development activities in the Alabama Black Belt counties and other targeted communities by providing business economic development training, technical assistance and develop information technology for business and rural development.

University of Maryland-Eastern Shore in Princess Anne, Md.--$125,000 to conduct outreach and provide technical assistance to develop entrepreneurs and businesses, including cooperatives. Funds will be used to develop a micro-lending program and develop and train micro-enterprise businesses in business operations and e-commerce in cooperation with Maryland Capital Enterprises, a non-profit organization. Additionally, funds will be used to develop a network of hydroponic greenhouse growers. …

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