USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner announced today 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 to establish revolving loan funds. However, by regulation this financial assistance cannot be granted directly 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:
- Local food systems and value-added agriculture
- Underserved populations: minority and women-owned businesses
- Access to capital markets
- Support for bio-based products or bio-fuels
- Business programs in USDA Strike Force designated counties including: Catron, Chaves, Cibola, Curry, De Baca, Dona Ana, Eddy, Guadalupe, Hidalgo, Lea, Lincoln, Luna, McKinley, Mora, Otero, Rio Arriba, Roosevelt, Sandoval, San Juan, San Miguel, Santa Fe, Sierra, Socorro, Taos, Torrance, Union and Valencia counties.
Last fiscal year, USDA Rural Development provided $303,000 to assist seven New Mexico recipients which including; the 10 Southern Pueblo Council which has contracted with the Acoma Business Enterprise to assist in the development of a Native American Food Hub. RBEG funding was also provided to the Village of Magdalena to complete a feasibility study for a proposed grocery store.
USDA Rural Development is currently accepting applications for the Rural Business Enterprise Grants (RBEG) program until close of business, Friday, April 1, 2014.