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Vilsack announces funding to support small, emerging rural businesses
Milwaukee corporation will help businesses in Vernon and eight other counties
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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced that Wisconsin and 29 other states, as well as the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, will benefit from funding made available under the Rural Business Enterprise Grant program (RBEG) to promote job creation and business development.

In Wisconsin, five organizations received grants totaling nearly $360,000. Together, these projects will assist approximately 50 businesses in Vernon and 26 other counties, and save or create nearly 50 jobs.

The Wisconsin  Women’s Business Initiative Corporation of Milwaukee will use a $99,000 grant to provide business education and technical assistance to small, rural businesses in businesses in Adams, Crawford, Forest, Grant, Juneau, Lafayette, Richland, Vernon, and Vilas counties. The project will assist 10 businesses and create/save 10 jobs, with a special emphasis in serving women-owned and minority-owned businesses.

Other recipients include ADVOCAP, Inc. in Fond du Lac; Economic Development Corporation of Manitowoc County Foundation in Manitowoc; Village of Elderon; and the Wisconsin Business Innovation Corporation in Spooner.

The RBEG program helps to finance and facilitate the development of new and existing businesses in rural America. Funds can be used for start-up and working capital loans, building and plant renovations, transportation improvements, project planning and other business needs. Eligible applicants for the program include public bodies, nonprofit corporations and federally recognized Indian tribes.

More information is available at

In all, 131 awards totaling more than $6.5 million were announced to promote economic development efforts.  Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant agreement.

Since 2009, the RBEG program has helped create or save more than 73,000 rural jobs, provided over $170.9 million in economic development assistance, improved manufacturing capability, and expanded health care and educational facilities, and has either expanded or helped establish almost 41,070 rural businesses and community projects.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.