VAN BUREN, Maine — Small-business owners in Van Buren will be making upgrades and repairs to their buildings with a $99,800 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business Enterprise Grants program.
Dan Lapointe, the economic and community development director for the town, said Thursday that the money will help establish a small-business revolving loan fund to assist new and existing small businesses in the area.
“This money is targeting business owners who want to repair their businesses or upgrade them by putting in new equipment or making other investments,” he said. “These businesses already have committed to doing the work.”
Some of the targeted businesses are in the downtown, he added.
Lapointe said the town has received similar grants in the past.
Rep. Mike Michaud said in a press release announcing the grant that it is expected to save 16 jobs and assist three businesses.
“I am pleased that this funding has been released,” said Michaud, D-Maine. “These grants will provide important economic support to small businesses in the Van Buren area.”
He added that the money will be “especially helpful for small businesses that are facing challenges” in a difficult economy.
U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, R-Maine, in a joint press release said, “The USDA Rural Development program is committed to supporting rural communities throughout Maine with the necessary resources to improve public services and stimulate economic growth. These projects will help spur economic and in-frastructure development in these communities.”
The Rural Business Enterprise Grants program provides funding for rural projects that finance and facilitate development of small and emerging rural businesses. It also funds distance learning networks and employment related adult education programs.
Lapointe said Thursday that he expected the targeted businesses to begin working on their projects within a month.