Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program

Provide rural microentrepreneurs with the skills necessary to establish new rural microenterprises and to provide continuing technical and financial assistance related to the successful operation of rural microenterprises.

(1) Make direct loans to Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDO),
which may be a non-profit entity, Indian Tribe or public institution of higher education for the purpose of capitalizing microloan revolving funds to provide fixed interest rate business loans of the lesser of $50,000 or 20 percent of the amount loaned to an MDO for startup and growing rural microenterprises.

The maximum loan amount an MDO may borrower under this program will not exceed $500,000.

(2) Make grants to MDOs to support rural microenterprise development.

These grants are known as operational enhancement activities or services grants.

These grants will be used to seek training and other enhancement services to strengthen their own organizations.

These grants will not exceed $25,000 or 10 percent of available funding, whichever is less in any given year.

(3) Any MDO that receives a loan under this program is eligible for a grant to assist microentrepreneurs who have received or are seeking a microloan from an MDO.

These grants are known as technical assistance (TA) grants and may be used by an MDO to provide marketing, management, and other technical assistance to microentrepreneurs.

TA grants will provide assistance specifically tailored to the needs of one or more microentrepreneurs.

Make direct loans to Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDO), which may be a non-profit entity, Indian Tribe or public institution of higher education for the purpose of capitalizing microloan revolving funds to provide fixed interest rate business loans of $50,000 or less to microentrepreneurs as defined for startup and growing rural microenterprises.

(2) Make grants to MDOs to support rural microenterprise development.


Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.

Office - See Regional Agency Offices.

For general information, write to: US Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Specialty Programs Division, MS 3225, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC, 20250, or telephone 202-720-1400.



Regional or Local Office and phone numbers of the contacts for each State.

Names and contact information are published annually in the Federal Register and are available at www.usda.gov.
Website Address

http://www.usda.gov



Program Accomplishments

Not Applicable.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Loans to MDO"s will be for the purpose of capitalizing microloan revolving funds to provide fixed interest rate business loans of $50,000 or less to microentrepreneurs as defined for startup and growing rural microenterprises.

The maximum loan amount an MDO may borrower under this program will not exceed $500,000.



Grants will be used to provide training, operational support, business planning, market development assistance, other related services to rural microentrepreneurs, and to fund other such appropriate projects and activities.

A 10 percent non-federal cash match will be required against any technical assistance grant awarded.

A 15 percent match will also be required which may be in the form of non-federal cash, in-kind goods, services, or indirect costs.

These two sets of matching contribution will be combined for a total matching requirement of 25 percent of the grant amount.



Any MDO that receives a loan under this program is eligible for a grant to assist microentrepreneurs who have received or are seeking a microloan from an MDO.

These grants are known as technical assistance (TA) grants and may be used by an MDO to provide marketing, management, and other technical assistance to microentrepreneurs.

TA grants will provide assistance specifically tailored to the needs of one or more microentrepreneurs.

TA grants will be not more than the lesser of 25 percent of the total outstanding balance of microloans or $100,000.

A 10 percent non-federal cash match will be required against any technical assistance grant awarded.

A 15 percent match will also be required which may be in the form of non-federal cash, in-kind goods, services, or indirect costs.

These two sets of matching contribution will be combined for a total matching requirement of 25 percent of the grant amount.

TA grants will be in an amount equal to not more than the lesser of 25 percent of the total outstanding balance of microloans or $100,000.

The term of a loan made to an MDO will not exceed 20 years.

The interest rate to an MDO will be at a minimum 1 percent and may adjust, after the 2-year deferral, depending on the performance of the MDO as published in the anticipated Final Rule.

The Grant Agreement will be effective until such time the purpose of the grant is fulfilled.



Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

To be eligible to apply for Microlender status under the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, an applicant must be a non-profit entity, an Indian tribe, or a public institution of higher education.

Applicants must be at least 51 percent controlled by persons who are either (i) citizens of the United States, the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, or American Samoa; or (ii) legally admitted permanent residents residing in the U.S.

The applicant or owner must not have an outstanding judgment, be delinquent on any Federal debt or debarred from receiving Federal assistance.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Microentrepreneur is defined as an owner and operator, or prospective owner and operator, of a rural microenterprise who is unable to obtain sufficient training, technical assistance, or as determined by the Secretary. All microentrepreneurs must be located in a rural area.

Credentials/Documentation

No Credentials or documentation are required. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Preapplication coordination is not applicable.

Environmental impact information is not required for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.

12372.

Application Procedures

OMB Circular No. A-102 applies to this program. OMB Circular No. A-110 applies to this program. Applicant Non-Profit organiations must submit a complete application to the USDA as called for in the final rule, which is planned for publication early in 2010. It is anticipated that the requirement will include Standard Forms 424, 424A and 424B plus program specific requirements as stated in the final rule.

Award Procedures

For the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, Rural Development (RD) personnel will review, score, and rank applications. It is anticipated that this will take place on a quarterly basis based on published evaluation criteria. Funding recommendations will be forwarded to the Administrator, Rural Business and Cooperative Service for final awards. The National Office will transfer funds to the appropriate State office for obligation of successful awards. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified.

Deadlines

Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.

Authorization

Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 of the Farm Bill, Title VI, Section 6022.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

From 60 to 90 days.

Appeals

Adverse actions made on applications from MDO"s are appealable pursuant to 7 CFR part 11.

Renewals

Not Applicable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Statutory formulas are not applicable to this program.
Matching Requirements: Percent: 25.%. A 10 percent non-federal cash match will be required against any technical assistance grant awarded. A 15 percent match will also be required which may be in the form of non-federal cash, in-kind goods, services, or indirect costs. These two sets of matching contribution will be combined for a total matching requirement of 25 percent of the grant amount.

A five percent (5%) match is required against any loan awarded, which will be used to establish a loan loss reserve fund.
MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

For the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program: Grant funds will be provided on a reimbursement basis. MDOs must make one or more microloans within 30 days of any disbursement it receives. MDOs may receive additional disbursements no more than quarterly. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: quarterly.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

Reporting requirements include quarterly reporting that provides information required by the Secretary to ensure that funds provided are being used for the purposes for which the loans and/or grants were made.

Cash reports are not applicable.

As part of the reporting, MDOs will be required to provide evidence that the sum of the unexpended amount in the Rural Microentrepreneur Revolving Fund, plus the amount in the Loan Loss Reserve Fund, plus debt owed by the microborrowers is equal to a minimum of 105% of the amount owed by the MDO to the Agency.

Expenditure reports are not applicable.

Reporting requirements include quarterly reporting that provides information required by the Secretary to ensure that funds provided are being used for the purposes for which the loans and/or grants were made.

Audits

In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133. Accounting records are to be prepared by or on behalf of borrowers and grantees in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) or audited financial statements. Source documentation will be required for financial statements.

Records

Participating MDOs will be required to maintain loan portfolio and training records, to the extent that the Agency may conduct inspections and audits as needed.

Financial Information

Account Identification

00-0000-0-0-000 - Not Availible at This Time.

Obigations

(Direct Loans) FY 08 $0; FY 09 est $0; FY 10 est $30,000 - New program for FY 2010. No funding for FY 2008 or FY 2009.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

No Data Available.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Regulatory guidelines (7 CFR Part 4280 subpart D), Notice of Solicitation of Applications, or Notice of Funds Availability will be published in the Federal Register each fiscal year. Application and servicing requirements will be outlined in applicable RD Instruction 4280-D once fully promulgated.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

See Regional Agency Offices. For general information, write to: US Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Specialty Programs Division, MS 3225, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC, 20250, or telephone 202-720-1400.

Regional or Local Office and phone numbers of the contacts for each State. Names and contact information are published annually in the Federal Register and are available at www.usda.gov.

Headquarters Office

Lori Washington 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, District of Columbia 20250 Email: Lori.Washington@wdc.usda.gov Phone: 202-720-1400

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Not Applicable.



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