Rural Business Support Program highlights needs in rural counties
CARSON CITY – The City of Wells and the Audacity Institute have granted 22 small businesses affected by COVID-19 up to $ 25,000 in forgivable loans through funding from the Community Development Block Grant CARES Act (CDBG-CV).
Demand was overwhelming, with more than 300 rural entrepreneurs and small business owners from 16 Nevada counties applying for business assistance funds under the Rural Business Assistance Program (RuBA). The Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development has awarded the City of Wells and the Audacity Institute $ 500,000 to launch the program, which provides forgivable loans to small businesses affected by COVID-19.
“The massive response from rural business owners who applied to the RuBA program demonstrates the tremendous demand for small business finance in combination with technical assistance,” said Patty Herzog, Director of Rural Economic and Community Development at GOED.
“Audacity has done an exceptional job meeting with community leaders from Main Streets and Chambers to reach out to underserved businesses. “
The Audacity Institute implemented a statewide awareness campaign that included direct mail to rural businesses paid for by the Greater Nevada Credit Union, social media and radio ads, distribution of leaflets through in-person outreach and collaboration with regional economic development authorities; Nevada Main Street and Nevada Small Business Development Center.
“Rural business owners face systemic barriers in accessing capital and resources to support them in building and growing the businesses of the future,” said Danielle Rees, Managing Partner of Audacity Institute. “Reliable Internet access is another challenge, which is why we’ve gone the old way with our outreach efforts. “
The awareness campaign was very successful with 309 nominations representing the demographics of rural Nevada – 9% veterans, 55% women and 29% minorities (including 16% Hispanic or Latino; 5% black or African Americans, 3% Native or Native Americans, 2% Asian, 1% Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and 2% others).
Sixty-one percent of business support requests came from established businesses, while 31 percent came from new businesses created after February 1, 2020, and 8 percent were ideas.
“Research shows that innovation in rural areas mirrors that in urban areas. The companies selected for the program represent a wide range of industries, including agriculture, beauty, construction, education, food, health, hospitality, manufacturing, retail and technology. Said Kelly Northridge, Managing Partner of the Audacity Institute.
Of the 22 selected companies, 68% are established companies, of which 55% are owned by women, 45% are minorities and 5% are veterans. Fifty-one percent of selected business owners qualify as low to moderate income and meet LMI requirements in their counties. The selected companies represent the counties of Carson, Churchill, Douglas, Elko, Humboldt, Nye, Washoe and White Pine.
“There are hundreds of small businesses that would benefit greatly from this program,” said Jolene Supp, Wells City Manager. “Additional funding to support rural businesses would make a huge difference to our rural economies. “