The Rural Microenterprise Assistance Program (RMAP) is a fairly new program introduced by USDA through the Farm Bill about two years ago. In this short time, it has proven to be a solid job creator in rural areas, including ours. The program provides loan capital and technical assistance to economic development organizations, who then help small businesses with their plans to start or operate their companies. Small businesses are provided loans at affordable interest rates that they pay back to the program on a monthly basis.

Mobridge Economic Development was fortunate enough to receive $120,000 of funding through the initial phase of this program. These outside funds were put to use making loans to area businesses. Business owners can borrow up to $50,000 for purchasing inventory, supplies, equipment, or provide working capital. What makes this a little different from a one-time award of money is that MEDCO is obligated to repay these funds, plus interest, to the USDA. However, the due date is 20 years out. As the initial loans are paid back, MEDCO can revolve the funds, making new loans to more small businesses and really stretching the use of these dollars. Nationwide, 90 other organizations like MEDCO across 40 states also received funds through this program and its growing in popularity.

MEDCO has now exhausted the initial funding through this program and helped eight area companies to achieve their business goals. It doesn’t always require a lot to complete a project and it’s great to see the money at work in the community! When given the right resources, small business owners will create jobs and bring more products, services, and choices to their economies. And I remain hopeful that this program will continue over time. It makes a positive impact for small businesses in rural communities. The interest generated from these loans isn’t going outside American borders.

The Rural Microenterprise Assistance Program is an investment in American companies for American jobs.

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