RUSTON, La. (KNOE) – The United States Department of Agriculture announced Monday (March 18) morning an investment of more than $160,000 to Louisiana Tech University for rural small business owners.

“Basically, if you’re outside of the Shreveport-Bossier metro area, you’re in a rural area in north Louisiana, so you can check that box off almost immediately,” said director Kathy Wyatt of Innovation Enterprise at LA Tech University.

USDA invested $166,666 to the university through the Rural Energy of America Program – Technical Assistance Grant to assist small businesses in nearby areas.

“The Rural Energy of America Program targets small businesses, ag producers and ranchers in rural communities. Rural communities in Louisiana are communities that hit certain markers in terms of population size. So here in north Louisiana, all of the communities would qualify for this program outside of the Shreveport-Bossier capital area,” said State Director for Rural Development Deidre Deculus Robert of USDA.

According to the USDA, these available funds will provide hands-on support for renewable energy systems. Robert says that this program with LA Tech will allow the university to utilize its resources to help do the assessments and reports for those businesses – telling them exactly what energy efficiencies they need or what a solar install would look like for them, in addition to assisting the rural business owners with completing the grant application.

“It’s really important for them to have access to sustainable business opportunities like energy efficiencies, so one… their bottom line is impacted so that they’re seeing more dollars, more revenue – that affords them the ability to stay in our rural communities and grow their businesses and make them more sustainable, which in turn creates workforce development,” said Robert.

Interested rural small business owners can reach out to the state office page to learn how to get started on the application at LA Tech.



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