USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner has announced his agency is now accepting applications for the Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program.
In making the announcement Brunner said, “The RBEG program is one of the most flexible economic development opportunities offered by USDA Rural Development to create jobs, something the Obama administration has worked hard to do.” He added, “In the past the RBEG has been used to fund business incubators, feasibility studies, business plans, and it has financed technical assistance programs for business development.”
The RBEG funding is made available to public bodies, nonprofit organizations, public and private nonprofit institutions of higher education, and Indian tribes to facilitate and finance the development of small and emerging private business enterprises in rural communities and cities up to 50,000 in population.
The grant funds can be used to finance and facilitate the development of small, private, business enterprises which is any private business that employs 50 or fewer new employees and has less than $1 million in projected gross revenues. The RBEG funds can also be used to pay for technical assistance for such things as feasibility studies, business plans, business development training, or workshops. However, by regulation this financial assistance cannot be granted directly to a private business. The RBEG financing is granted to a non-profit or a governmental agency that sets up a revolving loan fund and then makes a loan to a private business.
Applications are selected for funding based on an established competitive scoring process. Priority will be given to application requests of $50,000 or less. Additionally, applications will receive discretionary points for projects that support the agency and department goals in the following categories:
- Renewable energy
- Local food systems and value-added agriculture
- Support of cooperatives
- Business programs in persistent poverty counties (Catron, Cibola, Doña Ana, Guadalupe, Luna, McKinley, Mora, Río Arriba, Roosevelt, San Juan, San Miguel, Socorro, or Taos)
- Underserved populations: minority and women-owned businesses
Last fiscal year, USDA Rural Development provided $283,000 to assist six New Mexico recipients, which included the Southwest Regional Housing and Community Development Corporation to establish a revolving loan fund to assist micro businesses in four rural New Mexico counties. RBEG funding was also provided to the Ramah Navajo School Board, Inc. to complete a feasibility study for the proposed Cedar Bluff Travel Center and Business Complex.
USDA Rural Development is currently accepting applications for the Rural Business Enterprise Grants (RBEG) program until close of business, Friday, April 12, 2013.
Information on the RBEG program can be obtained from the Rural Development State Office in Albuquerque at 505-761-4953 or at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_rbeg.html
USDA Rural Development’s mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. Rural Development fosters growth in homeownership, finances business development, and supports the creation of critical community and technology infrastructure. Further information on rural programs is available at any local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development’s web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov