Rural Business Development Grants | Rural Development


 

What does this program do?

This program is designed to provide technical assistance and training for small rural businesses. Small means that the business has fewer than 50 new workers and less than $1 million in gross revenue.

 

Who may apply for this program?

Rural public entities including, but not limited to:

  • Towns.
  • Communities.
  • State agencies.
  • Authorities.
  • Nonprofit corporations.
  • Institutions of higher education.
  • Federally-recognized tribes.
  • Rural cooperatives (if organized as a private nonprofit corporation).

What is an eligible area?

 

Rural Business Development Grant money must be used for projects that benefit rural areas or towns outside the urbanized periphery of any city with a population of 50,000 or more. Check eligible areas.

 

What kind of funding is available?

There is no maximum grant amount; however, smaller requests are given higher priority. There is no cost sharing requirement. Opportunity grants are limited to up to 10 percent of the total Rural Business Development Grant annual funding.

 

How may funds be used?

Enterprise grants must be used on projects to benefit small and emerging businesses in rural areas as specified in the grant application. Uses may include:

  • Training and technical assistance, such as project planning, business counseling and training, market research, feasibility studies, professional or/technical reports or producer service improvements.
  • Acquisition or development of land, easements, or rights of way; construction, conversion, renovation of buildings; plants, machinery, equipment, access for streets and roads; parking areas and utilities.
  • Pollution control and abatement.
  • The capitalization of revolving loan funds, including funds that will make loans for start-ups and working capital.
  • Distance adult learning for job training and advancement.
  • Rural transportation improvement.
  • Community economic development.
  • Technology-based economic development.
  • Feasibility studies and business plans.
  • Leadership and entrepreneur training.
  • Rural business incubators.
  • Long-term business strategic planning.

 

Opportunity grants can be used for:

  • Community economic development.
  • Technology-based economic development.
  • Feasibility studies and business plans.
  • Leadership and entrepreneur training.
  • Rural business incubators.
  • Long-term business strategic planning.

 

How are applications evaluated?

All applications are evaluated based on:

  • Evidence showing job creation at local businesses.
  • Percent of non-federal funding committed to the project.
  • Economic need in the area to be served.
  • Consistency with local economic development priorities.
  • Experience of the grantee with similar efforts.

 

Other factors are described in the current Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA), if one is published.

 

How do we get started?

  • Applications are accepted through USDA Rural Development’s local or state offices. Applicants are advised to view program information specific to your local or state office to learn about local application timelines, concept paper requirements, etc.
  • Grant awardees will need to complete required paperwork and comply with the terms and conditions of the award. Contact your local or state office for details.

 

Who can answer questions?

 

What law governs this program?

  • Basic Program – 7 CFR Part 4280, Subpart E. This program is authorized by the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (ConAct).

 

What governed the predecessor programs of Rural Business Enterprise Grants (RBEG) and Rural Business Opportunity Grants (RBOG), as well as all awards given before FY 2015?

 

Why does USDA Rural Development do this?

This program provides grant money to assist with economic development planning and/or the financing or expansion of rural businesses. 

 

NOTE: Because citations and other information may be subject to change, please always consult the program instructions listed in the section above titled “What law governs this program?” You may also contact your local office for assistance.

 

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