Ed. Note: This is cross-posted from the SBA Blog
This week marks the one-year anniversary of the creation of the White House Rural Council, an Administration-wide initiative to support and strengthen America’s rural economy. And our progress over the last year is detailed in a new report released today.
As part of our efforts, we are making sure that more entrepreneurs who live in rural areas have the access and opportunity they need to start, build and grow their businesses.
We know innovation and entrepreneurship doesn’t just take place in New York and Silicon Valley. It’s happening in West Virginia, all along the I-79 High Tech Corridor, where I was last month. It’s happening in Iowa and Georgia and Nebraska.
And if we want to continue to grow our economy—and be more globally competitive—we need to make sure that we can harness the potential of entrepreneurs and small businesses in all of these communities.
To make that possible, the Small Businesses Administration is working to increase the flow of capital to rural areas. In fact, SBA has helped put more than $400 million in investment capital directly into the hands of high growth rural businesses through our agency’s Small Business Investment Companies (SBICs) since last October.
Over the last year, our SBIC’s have invested in businesses throughout rural America. Businesses like Color Resources, LLC in Greenville, South Carolina; The Country Vintner, Inc. in Ashland, Virginia; Accu-mold in Ankeny, Iowa; and ABC Peanut in Fitzgerald, Georgia. And we will continue to build on these investments by targeting an additional $2 billion to rural communities by 2016.
In addition, today, we are announcing the licensing of the new Central Valley Fund, focused on investing in small businesses in California’s Central Valley and San Joaquin Valley Regions. The Central Valley region has the world’s leading agricultural economy producing about one-third of the U.S.’s food supply and has often been overlooked by the private equity community.
Innovative rural businesses are creating an economy built to last. These businesses are helping to strengthen and grow rural economies and communities. And the Obama Administration, and the White House Rural Council, are committed to making sure that these businesses have the access to capital and the tools they need to thrive.
Karen Gordon Mills is the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration