Rural Development investment allows REED Center expansion
Rural Development state director Mary Ruth Tackett and University of Tennessee Martin Chancellor Dr. Tom Rakes recently announced an investment of $49,927 for the expansion of business-education resources at the Regional Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (REED) Center.
The announcement took place at the REED Center in Martin.
“Education is at the heart of economic development and small-business development, which is why UT Martin and the REED Center are so important to the economic vitality of this region,” Tackett said. “Thanks to the support of our congressional delegation, Rural Development has the financial resources necessary to help expand educational opportunities for the entrepreneurs who will be creating good new jobs.”
“UT Martin is proud to gain this vital support to extend economic development outreach through the REED Center,” UT Martin Chancellor Tom Rakes said. “We are fortunate to have a staff that is involved and interested in partnership efforts combining local, state and federal agencies.”
The Rural Development Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG) will be used to expand the REED Center’s service area and increase the number and range-of-expertise of small business consultants working with the center. New expertise will be added in the fields of eCommerce, business software, market research and basic financial literacy.
Based on performance, center staff expects these additional resources to ultimately assist small businesses create 100 new jobs in northwest Tennessee and southwest Kentucky.
“This is an important investment as we continue building on the economic development and job growth of northwest Tennessee. The partnerships be-tween our community, business owners and UT Martin help the business leaders of today and tomorrow learn to utilize the tools that are necessary to succeed,” Congressman John Tanner said in a statement.
Rural Development rural business enterprise grants provide assistance to public or not-for-profit organizations to support economic development projects that assist small businesses, expand local business infrastructure, provide job training, conduct feasibility studies or provide technical assistance to businesses and community leaders.
Others participating in the event included Sen. Lamar Alexander’s field representative, Matt Varino; Sen. Bob Corker’s field representative, Jane Jolley; Tanner’s field representative, Brad Thompson; Weakley County Mayor Houston Patrick; Martin Mayor Randy Brundige; REED Center coordinator Hollie Holt; Rural Development area director Bobby Goode; and area specialist Van Wylie.
USDA Rural Development is committed to the future of rural communities in Tennessee by investing financial and technical assistance through housing, community and business development programs.
In fiscal year 2007, Rural Development assisted more than 448,504 Tennessee families and businesses with more than $308 million in financial assistance through loans, loan guarantees and grants.
For more information on business development, affordable housing or community facilities programs available in the Weakley County area, contact the Rural Development area office in Union City at (731) 885-6480, Ext. 4, or toll free at 1-800-342-3149, Ext.1497, or online at www.rurdev.usda.gov/tn.