USDA’s Rural Development Funding Strengthens Rural Microentrepreneurs, Western Kentucky Businesses Impacted by Devastating Tornados

Lexington, KY (December 22, 2023) – The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) awarded funding to Kentucky non-profit, Community Ventures (CV) to supply microenterprise loans to new and start-up businesses in rural areas of the state, with special emphasis on assisting entrepreneurs impacted by the devastating tornadoes that struck Western Kentucky in 2021.


“In the face of continuing economic challenges, Kentucky’s small businesses are grappling with a myriad of hurdles, particularly in rural communities,” said Brenda Weaver, CV’s President of Lending and Western KY Disaster Recovery. The USDA RMAP dollars are a vital tool for us to be able to meet the needs of those businesses and help them to succeed.”


According to an Aspen Institute study, after five years in a microenterprise development program, 85 percent of microbusinesses were operational, and 70 percent had grown their businesses. These businesses generated an average revenue of $170,249 per enterprise and created an average of 3.5 jobs per business, bringing economic success to their communities.


In 2021, 23 of Kentucky’s 120 counties suffered devastating losses due to tornados and flooding. FEMA estimates that these losses total more than $53.2 million dollars to businesses. These RMAP funds will be used to supply businesses with financing for repairs and working capital that are not covered by insurance.

Businesses residing in counties severely damaged by storms – Barren, Caldwell, Fulton, Graves, Hart, Hickman, Hopkins, Logan, Lyon, Marion, Marshall, Muhlenberg, Ohio, and Taylor Counties – will be given funding priority.


Qualifying start-ups and existing businesses may use RMAP funding to refinance debt, purchase equipment and supplies, and improve real estate or as working capital.


Borrowers whose businesses provide services in rural areas of Kentucky with populations of 50,000 or less, employ ten or fewer full-time employees, and who are seeking no more than $50,000 in capital are eligible.


To discuss your business capital needs call CV at (859) 231-0054 or visit,




About the USDA Rural Development: USDA Rural Development invests in rural America with loan, grant, and loan guarantee programs with an understanding that a strong community is rooted in its people. The commitment and resources the USDA RD brings to rural communities helps drive economic security and prosperity. USDA RD programs expand access to high-speed internet, electric, and transportation infrastructure, and support business growth, healthcare, education, housing, and other community essentials.


About Community Ventures: Founded in 1982 as a community-based, non-profit organization, Community Ventures (CV) strengthens communities and improves the overall quality of life for Kentuckians by supporting job creation, small business ownership, and home ownership. CV is headquartered in Lexington with branch locations in Bowling Green, Campbellsville, Louisville, Mayfield, Millersburg, and Owensboro. For 22 consecutive years, CV has been named Microlender of the Year by the Kentucky Small Business Administration.