The two agencies have signed a memorandum of understanding re-affirming their commitments to supporting economic success and job growth across the entirety of the U.S. Going forward, the USDA and SBA will partner to create or further initiatives providing services such as education, technical assistance and export support for agricultural enterprises and rural businesses. The Department of Agriculture’s Rural Partners Network and the Small Business Administration’s Resource Partners Network, both cross-departmental programs supplying financial assistance and other resources, will also work more closely together to spur entrepreneurship in rural areas or underserved communities.
Less-populated areas have started to receive more attention from both government and private-sector organizations in 2023. Both the SBA and investment firm Goldman Sachs committed millions in grants and investments for rural businesses in September alone. The goal of these partnerships and funding initiatives is to boost local economies in often underserved communities and help diversify revenue streams.
“Rural small businesses strengthen local economies – creating jobs and serving communities,” commented SBA Administrator Isabel Casilla Guzman in a press release. Xochitl Torres Small, USDA deputy secretary, linked the new partnership to the Biden Administration’s emphasis on rebuilding “the economy for the American people from the bottom up and middle out…” and noted that the collaboration with the SBA would help “drive economic security and prosperity for people in rural America, so they can find opportunities to succeed right in the places they call home.”