In recent years, business researchers and analysts have taken a retrospective look at how far the U.S. economy has come since the The Great Recession of 2007-2009, and they have mostly shared the good news of steady economic growth since that time period. This unfortunately has not been the experience of many rural communities in America. Many rural communities still struggle with economic growth and unemployment, which weakens the country’s overall economic health. The answer is clear—we have to help our rural small business brothers and sisters! Luckily, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are joining forces to do just that.
The Importance of Rural Economic Growth in America
Rural communities are highly dependent on small businesses from an economic perspective—they make up almost 85% of establishments and employ 54% of workers in rural communities, according to recent reports from the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy. Beyond that, the success of rural communities and their economies is integral to the economic success of the country as a whole. Much of the land and resources the U.S. depends on comes from rural communities, and supporting their success—again, highly dependent on small business success—means advancing toward the economic goals shared by rural and urban areas nationwide. The interconnectedness of rural America’s small businesses and the success of the nation’s economy cannot be understated.
Partnering for Success
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is committed to helping rural areas see the same level of economic growth and success as other areas, and they have partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to move the needle forward on this goal. In November 2023, the SBA and USDA penned a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that seeks to strengthen and grow America’s rural economic landscape. In signing the MOU into effect, SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman noted that this enhanced focus on supporting rural small businesses will help these communities grow and—ultimately—help advance the U.S. economy and our level of global competitiveness.
While the SBA and USDA were already partnering on economic advancement initiatives, the MOU formalizes the partnership and outlines how the organizations will collaborate to help rural small business owners and operators. Highlights of these collaborative efforts include—
- Creating joint programs aimed at providing training and mentorship opportunities,
- Identifying possible opportunities for rural small businesses to globalize,
- Connecting the SBA’s Resource Partner Network with the USDA’s Rural Partners Network, and
- Increasing the cross-promotion of programs aimed at better supporting underserved communities.
These efforts help target some of the identified needs of rural small businesses, while also increasing rural community members’ access to individuals who can carry their voices to the highest level. With two government agency powerhouses in their corner, rural small businesses are poised for success now more than ever before!
Work with Growth Capital
If you’re a small business owner in a rural area, let Growth Capital help you navigate finding SBA-backed funds and resources! With over 40 years in the business of helping businesses, we’ve seen and worked with owners from all walks of life. We can help find the right loans and resources that will keep your small business thriving and supporting your local community! Contact us today to get the conversation started!