USDA announces opportunity for business development
From press release
OREGON, Ill.—Illinois State Director for Rural Development Colleen Callahan announced Feb. 4 that the federal agency’s funding is now available to spur business development and job creation in Belvidere, East Dubuque and Winnebago. Callahan made the announcement at a meeting in Oregon, Ill., where she discussed the availability of Recovery Act funding for the region.
A change in the 2008 Farm Bill paved the way for businesses, non-profits and public entities in the three communities to be eligible for five of the agency’s grant and low-cost loan programs.
“We are very excited to offer these communities new tools to support their efforts to develop a dynamic business environment,” said Callahan. “All three of these communities have a rich heritage upon which to build a vibrant future, and we are here to offer an affordable way to help them get there.”
Belvidere, East Dubuque and Winnebago had previously been ineligible for Rural Development’s affordable business financing because of their proximity to urbanized areas. The Farm Bill allowed Rural Development to request a re-evaluation of a community’s “rural” status. The change in eligibility was based on the fact that only a highway or road, which was two census blocks wide or less, connected these towns to the urbanized areas of Rockford or Dubuque.
The five business programs open to the three communities provide a variety of financing options including loan guarantees for businesses, grants for public entities and non-profits to support business development, loan guarantees and grants to help businesses become more energy-efficient, and zero-interest loans available through a partnership with local rural utility cooperatives.
The agency’s business programs are designed to create jobs through partnerships with private lenders, local units of government and community-based organizations to provide financial assistance and business planning. The funds are often leveraged with those of other public and private credit sources. Eligible applicants include individuals, corporations, partnerships, cooperatives, public bodies, non-profit corporations and private companies.
“These development tools will help Belvidere, East Dubuque and Winnebago grow their local economies,” Callahan said. “The change in eligibility is important for business owners, but it is equally important for the nearly 30,000 residents in these communities. When a town’s business climate improves, so does the tax base that supports local services.”
More information about USDA Rural Development’s business programs is available on the Web at www.rurdev.usda.gov/il or by calling the Ottawa office at (815) 433-0551, ext. 4, for inquiries in Belvidere or calling the Oregon office at (815) 732-6127, ext. 4, for inquiries in Winnebago and East Dubuque. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.
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