Congressman Kurt Schrader announced federal grant support for two efforts to assist small and emerging rural businesses and foster rural job creation in partnership with Chemeketa Community College.
The funding was made available through the Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program administered by the Rural Development mission area of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“These grants are critical investments that will help us train self-sufficient entrepreneurs whose success will create employment opportunities that could transform lives and communities,” Chemeketa President Cheryl Roberts said.
A grant of $15,000 to Chemeketa will allow six businesses from rural Marion and Polk Counties to complete the college’s Small Business Management Program. The program will provide a combination of classroom training, one-on-one business counseling, and business-to-business support and networking to help increase sales, expand operations, and save and create local jobs.
A second grant of $20,000 to the college’s Microenterprise Resources, Initiatives and Training (MERIT) program will be used to provide entrepreneurial training to Hispanic and other aspiring entrepreneurs in the Woodburn area through the Mid-Willamette Valley Latino Microenterprise Development Program. The program aims to address an increasing need for business training and access to capital as Hispanic entrepreneurs launch new small businesses at record paces.
Both programs are based out of the Chemeketa Center for Business and Industry in downtown Salem.
“Small businesses are the real job creators in Oregon and across our nation,” Schrader said. “These federal investments in business training and counseling for our hardworking rural business owners are exactly what they need right now to expand their operations, create local jobs and foster economic growth in our underserved areas.”
The RBEG program is designed to promote development of small and emerging businesses in rural areas. RBEG may also be used to help fund distance learning networks and employment-related adult education programs. Eligible applicants for the program include public bodies, nonprofit corporations and federally recognized Indian Tribes.
The grants are among 131 awards amounting to more than $6.5 million in USDA funding nationwide. Of these, 16 grants totaling $268,000 will be awarded to support businesses in rural Oregon. The funding is contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of their grant agreements.