Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program
Applications accepted on an ongoing basis
USDA Rural Development (USDA RD)
Offers loans and grants to microenterprise development organizations (MDOs) to make microloans to help microenterprises startup and grow through a Rural Microloan Revolving Fund, and provide training and technical assistance to microloan borrowers and microentrepreneurs. Seeks to support and encourage the development and success of rural microentrepreneurs and microenterprises.
Funds may be used for qualified business activities and expenses, such as:
- Working capital
- Debt refinancing
- Equipment and supplies
- Real estate improvements
Amount of Funding
Funding available to MDOs:
- Grants to provide technical assistance to rural microentrepreneurs or microenterprises of up to $205,000 annually. A minimum of 15% matching funds is required for technical assistance grants.
- Loans to establish a Microloan Revolving Fund to be managed by the MDO. Loan amounts range from $50,000 to $500,000 and the total aggregate debt for MDOs may not exceed $2,500,000.
- Loan terms include:
- Maximum loan term is 20 years
- 2-year payment deferral
- MDOs must establish a loan loss reserve fund
Funding available to ultimate recipients:
- Up to $50,000 is available at a fixed interest rate and funding is limited to 75% of project costs.
Who Can Apply
The following are eligible to be an MDO:
- Federally recognized tribes
- Institutions of higher education
The following are eligible to apply for a loan from the MDO as an ultimate recipient:
- Businesses located in eligible areas with a maximum of 10 full-time employees
The project service area must be located within an eligible rural area to qualify for funding. Under this funding opportunity, eligible rural areas are defined as areas outside a city or town with a population below 50,000 residents. To determine if a specific address is designated as rural for this funding opportunity, check eligible addresses using the Rural Business Services Property Eligibility Tool.
Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDOs) must demonstrate experience managing a revolving loan fund (RLF) or meet the following requirements:
- Certify that it or its employees have received education and training from a qualified microenterprise development training entity so that the applicant has the capacity to manage such a RLF.
- Demonstrate that it is actively and successfully participating as an intermediary lender in good standing under the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Microloan Program or other similar loan programs as determined by the Administrator.
What This Program Funds
Buildings and Facilities • Capacity Building • Equipment • Starting a Business
Interested applicants should work with their USDA Rural Development state office to obtain application documents. Application information, requirements, and instructions are available in the Federal Register.
For program questions:
Contact the appropriate USDA Rural Development state office
Topics This Program Addresses