This report presents findings from an evaluation of ARC’s business development projects that closed between 2017 and 2021, representing 220 grants and nearly $75 million of ARC investment. The evaluation found that ARC’s business development grants closed during that timeframe led to improvements for nearly 11,000 businesses and facilitated the creation of over 14,500 jobs and 1,944 businesses.
In addition, ARC-funded business development projects leveraged over $923 million in private investment. These grants helped beneficiaries start or grow their businesses, access affordable loans or other capital, develop new marketing skills which in turn increased access to new markets, establish new networks, and strengthen their entrepreneurial mindset.
Grantees described additional long-term impacts of their projects, such as increased awareness or enhanced reputation for their projects that extended their reach to new populations; new partnerships and community connections that brought new capacities to the projects; new ways to leverage technology to support rural entrepreneurs; stronger entrepreneur ecosystems; and community improvements that increased community pride.