BUCYRUS - Crawford County is one of 14 counties that will be part of Sen. Sherrod Brown's Economic Gardening initiative to boost small business owners.

The initiative was created to financially assist 20 businesses within the 14 counties. A grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) Program of $99,952 has been presented to WSOS Community Action Commission in Fremont to be distributed to businesses that qualify.

"The money is to be used for existing small businesses that employee 10 to 99 people and are ready to move the business to the next level," said Joyce Huntley of WSOS Community Action Commission. It is not for start-up businesses."

Brown said the goal is to creating new jobs in small towns and rural areas through federal resources.

"Small businesses are essential to our economy, and through this award, local communities and their residents can lead the way in rural economic development," Brown said.

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