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United States Department of Agriculture: Rural Business Development Grants

Deadline: July 15, 2015

Rural Business Development Grants (RBDG) are designed to support targeted technical assistance, training, and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging private businesses in rural areas that have fewer than 50 employees and less than $1 million in gross revenues. Programmatic activities are separated into enterprise or opportunity type grant activities.

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

  • Training and technical assistance, such as project planning, business counseling/training, market research, feasibility studies, professional/technical reports, or product/service improvements
  • Acquisition or development of land, easements, or rights of way; construction, conversion, renovation, of buildings, plants, machinery, equipment, access streets and roads, parking areas, or utilities
  • Pollution control and abatement
  • 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 type grant funding 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

Amount: Enterprise grants generally range from $10,000 to up to $500,000. There is no cost sharing requirement. Opportunity type grant funding is limited to a maximum award of $50,000. Total opportunity type grant funding is limited statutorily to up to 10% of the total RBDG annual funding.

Eligibility: Rural public entities including, but not limited to the following, may apply: towns; communities; state agencies; authorities; nonprofits; institutions of higher education; federally-recognized tribes; and rural cooperatives. Funds must be directed for projects benefiting rural areas or towns outside the urbanized periphery of any city with a population of 50,000 or more. In New Mexico, applicants must serve areas outside of Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Santa Fe, and Rio Rancho.

Link: http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-business-development-grants

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