USDA gives Kentucky Entrepreneurship Organization grant for business development

Frankfort, Ky. — A Kentucky-based nonprofit seeking to train entrepreneurs is looking to expand services after receiving grant support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Sustainable Business Ventures describes itself as a social enterprise that provides technical assistance, training, and support for entrepreneurs, individuals wanting to start a business, and small business owners. SBV uses the “triple bottom line” theory of nonprofit effectiveness that takes into account the social, environmental, and financial outcomes of an organization.

As part of a program to invest in small business development in rural Kentucky, the USDA is awarding a $54,000 grant to SBV to help small businesses and entrepreneurs throughout the commonwealth. SBV President Bobby Clark said his organization plans to use the money to create jobs as part of the ongoing recovery from the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“One of the things we want to do with this grant is, we told USDA we’d like to create 20 jobs, but what we’d like to do is try to save a hundred,” Clark said in a community Zoom call announcing the grant.

USDA Kentucky State Director Hilda Legg said organizations like SBV are critical to economic recovery in rural areas.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, and they’ve been hit hard over the last six months,” Legg said in a press release. “Connecting small business owners with on-demand training and coaching will help them survive and thrive. USDA Rural Development continues to be a valuable partner in helping rural businesses and communities throughout the commonwealth.”

The grant will fund distance learning and entrepreneurship projects in SBV’s Kentucky service region, including several counties in the western portion of the state. The 16 counties identified in the grant are Ballard, Breathitt, Calloway, Carlisle, Elliot, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Lee. Magoffin, Marshall, McCracken, Menifee, Morgan, Rowan, and Wolfe.

The grant is part of a larger initiative to partner with community leaders to promote rural development. The community kickoff Zoom call was held in Ballard County at the invitation of Judge/Executive Todd Cooper as a testament to the support of rural leaders. Clark said he hopes to connect clients with community resources to promote cooperation between the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.