USDA has announced that more than $28 million in grants will be available to support rural businesses and create jobs through the Rural Business Development Grant program.
The program is designed to assist the startup or expansion of small and emerging private businesses and/or nonprofits in rural communities. Eligible applicants include public bodies, government entities, nonprofit organizations and Indian tribes.
RBDG grants can be used to acquire or develop land, buildings, plants and equipment; build or improve access roads, parking areas and utility extensions; provide technical assistance; establish revolving loan funds; and to support rural distance learning programs that provide educational or job training.
“Ensuring investment in rural businesses is one of the ways USDA demonstrates its commitment to strengthening our rural communities,” said Colleen Callahan, IL Rural Development Director. “These grants can help address the challenges faced by rural businesses in accessing the resources they need to grow and create jobs in the communities they serve.”
Congress established the RBDG program under the 2014 Farm Bill by combining USDA’s Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) and Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG) programs. RBDG funds can be utilized for either enterprise or opportunity type projects in rural communities. Grants made before the implementation of the RBDG program will continue to be governed by the terms of the applicable RBOG and RBEG regulations in effect at the time the grants were made.
Interested applicants are encouraged to contact their nearest Rural Development office, or the Illinois Rural Development State Office at (217) 403-6202. Offices and program information can also be accessed through www.rd.usda.gov/il. Complete applications for Illinois projects must be received by June 15 to compete for funding in this fiscal year. Additional RBDG information and scoring criterion can be found on pages 15665-15673 of the March 25 Federal Register.