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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor, along with Representative Mike Ross announced Monday that the Southern Good Faith Fund in Pine Bluff has been awarded a $48,500 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG) Program.

The funding will be used to help chart and execute strategies to grow area small businesses, identify and access new markets, increase profitability and be able to hire new employees.

“Small businesses play a vital role in the development of our rural communities,” said Lincoln. “On several occasions, I have visited the Southern Good Faith Fund and seen first-hand the exceptional work it has done to help families achieve a college education, own a home, or start their own business. I am pleased this grant will help this outstanding organization continue its positive work in Pine Bluff.”

“Whether it’s starting a small business, buying a home or pursuing higher education, the Southern Good Faith Fund is an instrumental resource for Arkansans who desire positive change for themselves and their community,” said Pryor. “This funding is a smart investment toward addressing rural economic needs of Pine Bluff.”

“Rural Business Grants are an integral part of economic development because they provide essential tools to help our towns and communities grow and prosper,” Ross said. “I am proud to join with my colleagues to announce this vital funding to assist small businesses in Jefferson County, which in many ways serve as the economic backbone of our local communities.”

The funds are being provided through the Rural Business Opportunity Grant Program of USDA’s Rural Development mission area. The RBOG program finances training and technical assistance for business development.