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Federal Agencies Offer Training, Forums to Rural Small Businesses

WASHINGTON – Today, the House Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Rural Development, Agriculture, Trade, and Entrepreneurship heard from government witnesses on the role of the Small Business Administration (SBA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in supporting rural small business.

“There is no doubt that small businesses of all industries require access to reliable and affordable broadband to compete in local, national, and international markets,” said Ranking Member John Joyce (R-PA).  “In addition to inadequate access to the internet, rural firms have fewer financing options, fewer qualified and available workers, and fewer business assistance services than urban firms.  Our rural communities depend on the success of local small businesses.”

Agencies Report Increased Collaboration on Programs

“In 2018, former SBA Administrator Linda McMahon and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue developed a Memorandum of Understanding to further the administration’s goal to bring prosperity back to rural America… SBA and USDA work together regularly within rural communities to host events such as lender trainings, local business forums and opportunity zone events,” said Ms. Michelle Christian, National Director, Office of Rural Affairs, United States Small Business Administration (SBA), in Washington, DC.  “SBA and USDA are also partnering to connect entrepreneurs and small business owners with SBA’s staff and resource partners, who counsel, mentor, and train businesses at little or no cost.”

“Our business programs provide financial backing to stimulate business creation and growth through partnerships with public and private community-based organizations and financial institutions,” said Ms. Bette Brand, Administrator, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, in Washington, DC.  “The MOU established interagency working groups to address a variety of challenges in rural America… In Fiscal Year 2018, the USDA and SBA funded ten joint projects across ten different states, totaling $104 million to help rural businesses expand and grow.”

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