USDA Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program
The Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBCS or Agency), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Rural Development (RD), is making an initial announcement to invite applications for loans and grants under the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) for fiscal year (FY) 2024, subject to the availability of funding. This notice is being issued before the passage of a FY 2024 Appropriations Act, which may or may not provide funding for this program, to allow applicants sufficient time to leverage financing, prepare and submit their applications, and give the Agency time to process applications within FY 2024.
The purpose of RMAP is to support the development and ongoing success of rural microentrepreneurs and microenterprises. RMAP provides the following types of support: loan only, combination loan and technical assistance grant, and subsequent technical assistance grants to microenterprise development organizations (MDOs). The MDO uses loan funds to establish or recapitalize a revolving loan program for making microloans to an ultimate recipient rural microentrepreneur business. The MDO uses grant funds to provide technical assistance and entrepreneurship training to rural individuals and businesses.
The Federal share of the eligible project cost of a microborrower’s project funded under this section shall not exceed 75 percent.
The following are eligible to be an MDO:
- Federally recognized Tribes
- Institutions of higher education
The following are eligible to apply for a loan from the MDO as an ultimate recipient:
- Businesses located in an eligible area (rural areas outside a city or town with a population of less than 50,000. Urbanized areas near a city of 50,000 or more may not be eligible) with 10 or fewer full-time employees.
FUNDING AVAILABLE AND APPLICATION WINDOW:
FUNDING AVAILABILITY: Estimated $29 million. The Agency anticipates the following maximum amounts per award: Loans—$500,000; Grants—$100,000.
APPLICATION DEADLINE: Competitions for the available loan and grant funds will be made quarterly for applications that are received no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on the first Quarter, September 30, 2023; Second Quarter, December 31, 2023; Third Quarter, March 31, 2024; and Fourth Quarter, June 30, 2024.