Alabama A&M University is among the 10 land-grant universities partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide entrepreneurial training and green energy programs.
Historically African-American land-grant universities are the tools through which the government is provide funding for business development assistance to entrepreneurs, agribusinesses, cooperatives and communities in economically challenged rural areas.
The institutions plan to use the funding from the USDA Rural Development Department to cultivate new business opportunities and create jobs through entrepreneurial training, business start-up assistance, website development training and renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, among others. The principal investigator for the project is Dr. Duncan Chembezi, an agricultural economist who directs AAMU’s Small Farms Research Center.
In addition to AAMU, other schools receiving a $75,000 grant are: Delaware State University; Florida A&M University; Fort Valley State University (Georgia); Langston University (Oklahoma); North Carolina A&T State University; Southern University and A&M College (Louisiana); University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff; University of Maryland Eastern Shore; and West Virginia State University.
"These 1890 institutions have some of the best agricultural science and business education programs in the nation," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. "They also have the capacity and expertise to help small and emerging rural businesses develop income-producing projects."
The USDA hopes to use the projects to increase employment and income opportunities for rural Americans.