Rural Business Enterprise Grant Program

CONTEXT:

This is a competitive grant program 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.

SUPPORT MECHANISM:

Rural Business Development Grants is designed to allow public entities in rural areas to provide technical assistance and training for their local small businesses.

The program offers two types of grants: 

1. 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.

2. 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.
IMPLEMENTING AGENCIES:

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Grant applications compete at the USDA state office level, which are dependent on appropriations.

ELIGIBILITY:

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.

Eligible applicants are 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).

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.
Timeline:

2015-present.

The program was established by the 2014 Farm Bill. 

CURATED BY

Global Entrepreneurship Network
United States
Global Entrepreneurship Network
United States
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