Rural Business and Economic Development Program (RBEDP)
Through a cooperative agreement with USDA-Rural Business-Cooperative Service, the Tuskegee University Rural Business and Economic Development Program (RBEDP) has put in place an entrepreneurial program that uses business management education, one-on-one and group technical assistance, community resource development, as well as computer-based networking technology and strategic planning to produce entrepreneurs and businesses in this south-central part of the State and for the Cherokee Tribe of Northeast Alabama (CTNEAL) and the Echota Tribe of Northeast Alabama.
Target communities for RBEDP in the last nine years have included the Sumter/Greene Enterprise Community (EC), Lowndes County Renewal Community (RC), and Macon, Bullock, and Butler County Champion Communities (CC), Uniontown in Perry County and the Cherokee Tribe of North East Alabama (CTNEAL) and the Echotas Tribe of Northeast Alabama.
The scope of work has focused on successful partnerships with the Sumter-Greene EC and Federation of Southern Cooperatives in the west, Lowndes County Cooperative Extension Program, the Tuskegee-Macon County Community Development Corporation in Macon County, CTNEAL, Echotas Tribe of Northeast Alabama and more recently, the Small Business Administration Community Express Loan program and the Ford Foundation focus on more inclusive asset-building strategies and programs such as the Individual Development Accounts.
These partnerships have been possible primarily thanks to Tuskegee University-USDA Cooperative Agreements and partnerships with USDA State Office and others that have established much sought after small business education workshops, leadership for the Booker T. Washington Economic Summit and the Professional Agricultural Workers Conference, technical assistance and resource development for community based organizations and individual start-up businesses, training in financial management and record keeping for small farms and business firms, internet connection and access to business and economic information on the world wide web, etc.