Funding announced for economic development projects

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., recently announced $292,329 in grant funding from the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program and Rural Business Development Grants to provide economic development opportunities to rural West Virginia businesses.

This funding will be used to make energy efficient improvements, provide entrepreneurship training, develop facilities and conduct a feasibility study.

“As the economy changes in the 21st century, it is important for West Virginia businesses to implement practices that will garner the most success,” said Manchin in a news release. “These grants will ensure these businesses have the resources to adequately compete and thrive in the future, so that rural communities can continue creating products we West Virginians know and love.”

“Investing in our rural businesses is essential for economic growth,” Capito said in the news release. “Small businesses — like the ones receiving this funding — are truly the backbone of our economy, and I am glad to see additional resources headed their way so they can continue to grow, succeed and strengthen our communities throughout the state.”

REAP provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agriculture producers and rural small businesses. Eligible businesses must exist in a rural area and gain 50 percent of their gross income from agricultural operations. Rural Business Development Grants provide technical assistance and training to small and emerging private, rural businesses. Eligible businesses employ 50 or fewer employees and have less than $1 million in grow revenue.

Among the individual awards are:

• $50,605 — The Hardy County Rural Development Association in Moorefield to develop a large farmers’ market facility.

• $35,605 — Heart and Hand House Inc. in Philippi to complete energy efficient improvements at The Market Place.