$700K USDA RISE Grant Primes Green Hills RPC, MOSourceLink to Grow Agriculture Jobs in NW MO

$700K USDA RISE Grant Primes Green Hills RPC, MOSourceLink to Grow Agriculture Jobs in NW MO

The Show Me Jobs project, a new partnership between MOSourceLink and Green Hills Regional Planning Commission fueled by $727,919 in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) Grant, will aim to create jobs, increase sales, start new businesses and spur more positive economic outcomes for five counties in the rural Green Hills Region of northwest Missouri over four years.

The project will deliver technical assistance to build business capacity, increase supply chain connections, learn about agricultural business needs, connect entrepreneurs to resources and increase the visibility and awareness of value-added agricultural businesses and resources.

“This partnership and funding allows us to help more entrepreneurs and fuel the economic agricultural engines of our rural communities in Northwest Missouri,” said Corinne Watts, executive director at Green Hills Regional Planning Commission. “We can’t wait to see how this opportunity will strengthen the economy in the Green Hills Region.”

The five counties part of this project are Grundy County, Harrison County, Mercer County, Putnam County and Sullivan County. MOSourceLink and Green Hills RPC will be seeking partnerships within the communities in these counties to achieve the goals of the grant.

Specifically, the four-year outcomes of the project include the following:

  • 100 existing businesses will report increased capacity through the addition of new jobs, increased sales, increased knowledge and/or capital infusion.

  • 20 new businesses and 150 jobs will be created.

  • 5 businesses will access debt funds through revolving loan sources.

  • 4 businesses will increase sales by becoming part of the supply chain for urban corporations.

MOSourceLink will offer its key services of monitoring and filling gaps in the entrepreneur ecosystem and connecting entrepreneurs to experts and key organizations in the massive statewide network of 680+ business-building nonprofits.

“We’re proud to be able to leverage our statewide network to prime the pump for economic growth in the Green Hills Region of Missouri,” said Alexces Bartley, network builder at MOSourceLink. “With our deep experience in connecting entrepreneurs to resources across Missouri, we’re thrilled to be able to lend our expertise to boost entrepreneurship in a vital agricultural region of the state.”

To increase jobs in the Green Hills Region, the project will take a variety of approaches. The organizations will work alongside community leaders to leverage entrepreneurship as an economic development tool and work to better understand business development and workforce needs of the agribusiness cluster. Partners in the region will provide business-building technical assistance in startup, business planning, marketing, financing and other topics to startup and expanding businesses. Also part of the program is increasing businesses’ access to capital, increasing connections to the supply chain and increasing visibility and awareness of value-added agribusinesses. Networking events, educational workshops and other events will help connect entrepreneurs and service providers.

“Our mission at USDA Rural Development is to boost rural economic development by funding technical assistance for small business owners and entrepreneurs,” said Kyle Wilkens, state director of USDA Rural Development Missouri. “We help them design robust business plans, find new markets and promote their goods and services. This investment is a prime example of how our agency carries out that mission.”

Green Hills Regional Planning Commission and MOSourceLink will convene the agriculture industry and other entrepreneurship stakeholders from across the region at a January 2023 meeting to build connections, deliver more information about the project and find partners to work with to reach the initiative’s goals. For more information, contact the Green Hills RPC at [email protected] or call 660-359-5636.

Thumbnail image by Jonathan Petersson via Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/green-grass-field-near-houses-1198507/

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