MARINETTE — Economic development organizations, small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in the Marinette and Ironwood, Mich., areas will learn how to start, grow or expand their businesses and local economy at bi-state Rural Strong tour stops hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in June.

SBA’s Rural Strong roundtable discussions and sessions in Marinette on June 4, and in Ironwood on June 5 will educate attendees about federally-backed financing, ways to access funding and accessing small business advising opportunities available to them at no or low cost.

“Our Rural Strong initiative provides entrepreneurs in small towns and rural communities with direct access to resources available to help them elevate their business’ and community’s economic strength,” SBA Great Lakes Regional Administrator Rob Scott said. “Through our partnership with the USDA, we are focused on assisting small businesses to increase their access to capital, expand investment options and improve opportunities to export their products and services.”

SBA and USDA field representatives, as well as successful small business owners, will be on site to provide one-on-one guidance. More information and event registration for the Marinette event can be found at https://ruralbizmarinette.eventbrite.com, and for the Ironwood event, at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rural-strong-economic-development-outreach-ironwood-mi-tickets-61654190343?aff=ebapi. 

More than 46 million Americans live in counties designated as rural by the U.S. Census Bureau, but small businesses in rural areas may lack access to capital and other resources available in more urban areas. SBA’s Rural Strong initiative aims to level the playing field and elevate small businesses by offering loan incentives and training entrepreneurs to access government contracting and export opportunities. The SBA and USDA partnership is built on the priorities of the President’s Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity.