Lincoln, Nebraska, Jan 22, 2014 -- USDA Rural Development is seeking pre-applications for the Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program. RBEGs 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, establishment of small business revolving loan funds and the acquisition of land, buildings, and infrastructure to enhance business development.
Grants are only eligible for projects that assist rural areas. Rural is defined as cities with a population of less than 50,000. Pre-applications submitted for state funding are selected based on a competitive scoring process. Pre-applications for competition for the state allocated funds are due by close of business, 4:30 pm, Monday, February 24, 2014.
Priority will be given to pre-application requests of less than $100,000. Additionally, eligible initial pre-applications will receive discretionary points for projects that support the agency and department goals in the following categories. Examples provided are not intended to be all inclusive.
• Access to Capital Markets - Establishment of small business revolving loan funds.
• Underserved Populations - Projects located in or servicing persistent poverty rural areas, minorities and/or women-owned businesses, Native American Tribes and Indian groups.
• Locally Produced Agricultural Food Products including Value-added Agriculture - Funds may be used for equipment, technical assistance and training relative to food preparation and storage, to brand and market locally grown agricultural products, to develop agricultural enterprises such as small acreages and home gardens, etc. Funds may not be used to produce agricultural products.
• Food Systems - Increased economic activity related to local and regional food systems through the creation and expansion of infrastructure, business services and supply chain coordination, and by facilitating connections between rural food producers/businesses and regional market opportunities, farm to school training and technical assistance.
• Bioeconomy - Expansion of the domestic energy economy through investments in the bioeconomy, increased renewable energy production, support for the emerging biobased products industry, and displacement of traditional energy production through new technologies and energy efficiency improvements.
• Exporting – Development of an export plan, market identification research, export regulations training.
• Manufacturing – Feasibility studies, business plans, market and/or asset innovation identification, supply network coordination.
In Fiscal Year 2013, four grants totaling $170,000 were awarded in Nebraska from the state allocation. Additionally, one grant totaling $99,000 was funded from National Office Native American earmarked funds.
USDA Rural Development is issuing this pre-application announcement to allow USDA Rural Development to provide assistance to potential applicants without completing a full application.
For more information regarding the RBEG program visit: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/NEBusinessPrograms_Rural_Business_Enterprise_Grant.htm.
To discuss a proposed project, ask questions or to obtain a pre-application template, please contact one of the following Business Program Specialists:
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $172 billion in loans and loan guarantees. 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.
For additional information on RD projects, please visit Rural Development’s new interactive web map featuring program funding and success stories for fiscal years 2009-2012. The data can be found at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/RDSuccessStories.html.
President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users)