WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced today that the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet) in Athens will receive a $30,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP). ACEnet will use these funds to provide rural microentrepreneurs with technical assistance and training. A microentrepreneur is a small business with 10 or fewer employees.
Through the RMAP program, Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDOs) like ACEnet receive loans and grants from the USDA, which they use to provide rural microentrepreneurs with training and technical assistance or microloans from established revolving loan funds.
Brown championed RMAP in the Farm Bill; the program was reauthorized through 2018 by the 2014 Farm Bill.
“Small businesses and entrepreneurs play an important role in the local economies of Ohio’s rural communities,” Brown said. “This funding gives ACEnet the resources it needs to continue providing valuable assistance to create and sustain jobs in the region.”
Brown is the first Ohioan to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in more than 40 years. In 2014, he was part of the Senate Farm Bill Conference Committee that successfully negotiated a five-year farm bill that had been stalled for more than three years. Brown supported a strong Rural Development title in the 2014 Farm Bill to encourage economic development in rural communities.