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Rural businesses with 10 or fewer full time employees will be eligible for $45.1 million in federal loans and technical assistance grants from the feds, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced.

“This new program will help provide access to capital, business-based training and technical assistance to the smallest of small businesses,” said Vilsack. “We need to embrace new strategies to help create a thriving rural economy,”

The Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program will fund non-profit organizations, Indian tribes, and institutions of higher learning that help rural microentrepreneurs with financing, training, and other services. Small rural businesses then apply to these Microenterprise Development entities for the federal loans and grants.

To apply, contact your state’s Rural Development Office. For fiscal year, 2010, applications must be received by July 16.

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