OCWCOG Receives USDA Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Funding

The Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments (OCWCOG) received a $250,000 award through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development program. USDA Rural Development State Director Vicki Walker announced the awards today. $200,000 will be used to establish a Rural Microloan Revolving Fund to offer loans up to $50,000; the remainder of the USDA funding, $50,000 will be used to provide technical assistance to rural microentrepreneurs or microenterprises within Linn, Benton, and Lincoln Counties.

“OCWCOG has been working with the USDA and other Federal and local partners for decades to award federally guaranteed and local loans, and collaborating with microentrepreneurs and financial institutions to support our communities and build and strengthen businesses,” said Fred Abousleman, Executive Director of OCWCOG. “We are honored to be awarded further funding from USDA and look forward to adding this micro loan pool to our growing portfolio of lending programs to further local economic development.”

OCWCOG is actively involved in economic and community development throughout the Region, as the federally designated Economic Development District, promoting coordination and collaboration between economic development entities and professionals throughout Benton, Lane, Lincoln, and Linn Counties.  OCWCOG’s mission in regional economic development will be further strengthened through the USDA Rural Microloan Revolving Fund. OCWCOG Staff will also work with rural communities to overcome technical and financial challenges to economic development. OCWCOG also oversees a Business Investment Fund, Rural Development Fund, and multiple Revolving Loan Funds.

“Small businesses are the engine that drives rural economies,” said Walker, “Today’s funding will increase access to capital for rural small businesses and foster and environmental of entrepreneurship by giving business owners the technical assistance they need to create jobs, expand operations, enter into new markets, and fuel the local economy.”

OCWCOG’s funding is part of $32 million in loans and grants funded to 80 rural communities nationwide, including $425,000 to microentrepreneurs in Oregon. The Economic Development Council of Tillamook County was the other recipient of USDA funding.

For more information about the Rural Microloan Revolving Fund or other OCWCOG Lending Products, please contact, OCWCOG’s lending staff at 541-924-8460.