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Rural Business Investment Program

The Rural Business Investment Program (RBIP) promotes economic development in mostly rural areas by helping to meet the equity capital investment needs of smaller enterprises located in such areas. USDA licenses newly formed for-profit investment fund entities as Rural Business Investment Company's (RBIC)s. RBIC’s use the equity raised in capitalizing their fund to make equity, and equity-like, investments mostly in smaller enterprises located primarily in rural areas.  

General Eligibility Requirements

An applicant may be eligible to apply for an RBIC license if the company:

  • Is a newly formed for-profit entity or a newly formed for-profit subsidiary of such an entity;
  • Has a qualified management team with experience in relevant venture capital financing or community development financing; and
  • Will invest in enterprises that will create wealth and job opportunities in rural areas, with an emphasis on smaller enterprises.

RBIC applicants must identify the rural areas their fund will target and demonstrate how the fund will assist those areas through disciplined, profit-oriented investing in rural enterprises.

RBIP Fact Sheet:  For background and additional information on the Rural Business Investment Program, please click here to access the RBIP Fact Sheet.

Additional Requirements

RBIC applicants will also be requested to address the following requirements:

  • At least 75% of RBIC investments (measured both by dollars invested and number) must be made in Rural Business Concerns (i.e., an Enterprise whose principal office is located outside a standard metropolitan statistical area or within a community with a population of 50,000 or less). 
  • No more than 10% of investments (measured both by number and dollars invested) may be in Enterprises whose principal office is located in an urban area (defined by the Census as having a population of 150,000 or more.) 
  • At least 50% of RBIC investments (measured both by number and dollars invested) must be in “Smaller Enterprises,” and of those, at least 50% must be in “Small Business Concerns”.


How to Apply and Reference Materials

If you are interested in applying as a non-leveraged RBIC, please first read the RBIP Rules in 7 C.F.R. Part 4290, Application Proceedure and the current Program Notice outlining the application and selection process.

RBIC Application


RBIP Rural Area Locator: To find out if an enterprise is located in a qualified rural area for purposes of the RBIP, please refer to the following link for USDA Income and Property Eligibility, and select Property Eligibility for Business Programs:


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:  Please contact:  SPECIALTY PROGRAMS DIVISION, 1400 Independence Ave., (STOP 3225), SW Washington, DC 20250-3225; Tel: (202) 720-1400


Note: The RBIC application is intended for a newly formed for profit venture capital company that intends to be licensed as a RBIC and intends to raise a minimum of $10 million in private equity capital.

At this time, USDA will not provide Federal financial assistance in the form of debenture guarantees or grant assistance directly to RBIC’s, or indirectly to small businesses or other entities under a RBIC. Small businesses interested in such financial assistance should visit the USDA Rural Development website at to find a financing program appropriate to your small business needs.






Last Modified:11/20/2014 
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