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USDA Rural Business Development Grant applications open

September 28, 2021

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting applications to support economic development and create jobs for people in rural America.

USDA is making funding available under the Rural Business Development Grant program for eligible entities to support business opportunity and enterprise projects in rural communities. Eligible entities are rural towns, communities, state agencies, authorities, nonprofits, federally recognized tribes, public institutions of higher education and nonprofit cooperatives.

Business opportunity projects are used to identify and analyze business proposals that will use local rural materials or human resources. Such projects must be consistent with any local and area-wide community and economic development strategic plans, and be used to support other economic development activities in the project area. Projects include establishing business support centers or financing job training and leadership development in rural areas. Funding for business enterprise projects must be used to finance or develop small and emerging businesses in rural areas. Enterprise projects include repairing or modernizing buildings, providing technical assistance to a small business such as feasibility studies or business plans, or purchasing equipment for leasing to a small or emerging business.

In fiscal year 2022, USDA anticipates that part of the funding will be set aside for federally recognized Native American tribes, Rural Empowerment Zone/Enterprise Communities/Rural Economic Area Partnerships, projects located in Persistent Poverty areas, including those of Native Americans, and for Strategic Economic and Community Development projects. Eligible applicants for the persistent poverty and SECD set-aside funds must demonstrate that 100 percent of the benefits of an approved grant will assist beneficiaries in the designated areas.

Applications for grant funding, including all set-aside funds, must be submitted to the USDA Rural Development State Office for the state where the project is located by 4:30 p.m. local time, Monday, Feb. 28, 2022. For more information, visit Grants.gov.

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