News Release
Release No.STELPRD4008165
ContactVicki Schurman402-437-5563
Lincoln, Nebraska, Feb 10, 2011 --

@@USDA Rural Development is seeking applications for the Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program. RBEG’s are available to public bodies, non-profit entities and Indian Tribes who desire to finance and facilitate the development of small and emerging private business enterprises in rural areas. Grants may be used for technical assistance, the acquisition of land, buildings, and infrastructure to enhance business development and for the establishment of small business revolving loan funds.

Grants focused on revolving loan funds, assistance to Native Americans, or multistate projects are encouraged. Grants are only eligible for projects that assist rural communities. Rural is defined as communities and cities with a population of 50,000 or less. Applications submitted for state funding are selected based on a competitive scoring process. Applications that wish to compete for the state allocated funds are due by close of business, March 31, 2011.

Priority will be given to application requests of $50,000 or less. Additionally, eligible initial 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

* Renewable energy

* Great regions: multi-county or multi-state projects that will establish best practices in the area of regional economic and community development

* Support of cooperatives

* Underserved populations: minority and women-owned businesses

* Ecosystem market projects

* Access to capital markets

In Fiscal Year 2010, five grants totaling $272,000 were awarded in Nebraska from the state allocation. Additionally, six grants totaling $689,645 were funded from National Office reserve funds. While the Fiscal Year 2011 funding level is not yet known, USDA Rural Development Nebraska expects its allocation to be between $200,000 and $300,000, with additional funds available for Native American projects nationally.

USDA Rural Development is issuing this announcement prior to passage of a final appropriations bill to allow potential applicants more time to leverage additional financing for their projects and to prepare their grant applications.

For more information regarding the RBEG program visit:

For more information on this program, to discuss a proposed project or to obtain an application template, please contact one of the following Business Program Specialists:

* Marla Marx, or 308-632-2195 extension 1132 – panhandle and southwest counties

* Kelley Messenger, or 308-237-3118 extension 1120 – north and south central counties

* Jenny Nelson, or 402-423-9683 extension 124 – southeast counties

* Korey Young, or 402-371-5350 extension 102 – northeast counties

Through its Rural Development mission area, USDA administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a network of 6,100 employees located in the nation’s capital and 500 state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $142 billion in loans and loan guarantees.