Small and local communities play a significant role in the development of our country. It has occurred to me that in the three-plus years of writing this column, I have failed to provide a listing of many national or state resources a small local community can reach out to. Local communities are the backbone of our economy. As such, our government offers programs to ensure their growth and development. The government, therefore, provides various resources to small communities to support their economic development. This article will explore the national resources available for small communities for economic development.
1. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides loans to small businesses. Small businesses are the backbone of the economy, and these loans help them to grow and create jobs. SBA loans offer low-interest rates and long repayment terms, making them a popular option for small businesses. These loans can be used for a variety of purposes, including working capital, purchasing inventory, and expanding business operations.
2. Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) fund local community development activities. The program provides funding for a variety of projects, including economic development, housing, and public facilities. These grants are awarded to state and local governments, and they can be used for various purposes, including infrastructure development, job creation, and workforce training.
3. Rural Business Development Grants (RBDG) are federal grants that provide funding for rural businesses. These grants are designed to help rural businesses grow and create jobs in rural areas. The program provides funding for a variety of purposes, including working capital, marketing and advertising, and equipment purchases.
4. Economic Development Administration (EDA) provides grants to communities to support their economic development. The program provides funding for a number of purposes, including infrastructure development, job creation, and workforce training. The agency also offers technical assistance to help communities develop strategies for economic growth.
5. USDA Rural Development Programs offer programs to support rural economic development. These programs provide funding for a range of projects, including business development, community facilities, and infrastructure development. They help communities develop strategies for economic growth.
6. State and Local Economic Development, depending on your state, offer programs to support economic development. These programs provide funding for various purposes, including infrastructure development, job creation, and workforce training. They also offer assistance to help communities develop strategies for economic growth.
7. Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) are private, non-profit organizations that provide financing and assistance to small businesses and low-income communities. These institutions provide financing for a wide range of purposes, including working capital, equipment purchases, and real estate development.
8. Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are local organizations that provide free and low-cost assistance to small businesses. They offer a variety of services, including business planning, marketing, advertising, and financial management. SBDCs are funded by the SBA and other federal, state, and local government agencies.
9. SCORE Mentors is a national organization that provides free mentoring services to small businesses. The organization is staffed by retired executives and entrepreneurs who provide guidance and advice to small business owners. SCORE mentors help small business owners with many issues, including business planning, marketing and advertising, and financial management.
10. Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists are individuals and organizations that provide financing to small businesses in exchange for equity or ownership in the company. These investors are typically high-net-worth individuals or investment firms specializing in funding startups and small businesses.
This list is far from conclusive. There are dozens of other resources available, depending on the state in which you live. Local communities play a crucial role in the economic development of any country. As such, each community should take the time and expend the resources necessary to explore which of the above resources and others should be pursued. Time is short, don't hesitate; the future of your local community may depend upon it.
John Newby is a nationally-recognized columnist, speaker, and publisher. He consults with chambers, communities, businesses, and media. His "Building Main Street, not Wall Street" column appears in 60-plus newspapers and media outlets. As founder of Truly-Local, he assists chambers, communities, media, and businesses in creating synergies that build vibrant communities. He can be reached at [email protected].