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Rural Business Development Grant

USDA-Rural Development is accepting applications for a new program, Rural Business Development Program. This program consolidates the Rural Business Enterprise Grant and the Rural Business Opportunity Grant.

 Eligible Applicants are: 

·         Public bodies/governmental entities including states, counties, cities, authorities, districts, and education institutions;

·         Non-profit organizations; and

·         Federally recognized tribal groups

Grant projects will include business opportunity and business enterprise projects that serve rural areas.  Applicants are encouraged to consult with Rural Development staff well in advance of filing an application. See grant details and staff contact information below.  A fact sheet is attached.


Program Purpose

Grants made under this program will be made to eligible entities for use in funding various business opportunity and business enterprise projects that serve rural areas.  This program consolidates the Rural Business Enterprise Grant and the Rural Business Opportunity Grant.

 Eligible Area

Communities of less than 50,000 population and not contiguous to a community of 50,000 or more population.  For specific determination, refer to                                                       

Eligible Applicants

·         Public bodies/Governmental entities including states, counties, cities, authorities, districts, and educational institutions

·         Non-profit organizations

·         Federally recognized tribal groups

Grants are not made directly to businesses.  Applicants must provide a System of Awards Management (SAM) registration number (CAGE code) and a Dun and Bradstreet number (DUNS).  See instructions for obtaining these numbers, attached.

Eligible Projects.  Projects must comply with either the business opportunity type grant or a business enterprise type grant.  The applicant must identify which type it is applying for.

Business Opportunity Type Grant

(up to 10% of the RBDG appropriation may be devoted to this type of grant)

--Grant fund uses include:

·         Identify and analyze business opportunities that will use local rural materials or human resources;

·         Identify, train, and provide technical assistance to benefit existing or prospective rural entrepreneurs and managers;

·         Establish Business Support Centers and otherwise assist in the creation of new rural businesses;

·         Conduct local community or multi-county economic development planning;

·         Conduct leadership training of existing or prospective adult rural entrepreneurs and managers;

·         Establish centers for training, technology, and trade that will provide training to rural businesses in the utilization of interactive communications technologies to develop international trade opportunities and markets;

·         Pay reasonable fees and charges for professional services necessary to conduct the technical assistance, training or planning functions.

--Project results:  Project must result in economic development of a rural area

--Basis for success or failure:  Application must demonstrate a need for the project and include a basis for determining the success or failure of the project, show major elements of the project, and outline procedures that will be taken to assess the project’s impact at its conclusion.

--Local and area-wide strategic plans:  Project must be consistent with any local and area-wide strategic plans for community and economic development activities in the project area.

Business Enterprise Type Grant

--Grant fund uses.  Grant funds may be used to finance and/or develop small and emerging businesses * in rural areas including, but not limited to

·         Acquisition and development of land, easements, and rights-of way (no housing);

·         Construction, conversion, enlargement, repairs or modernization of buildings, plants, equipment, access streets and roads, parking areas, utilities, pollution control facilities; real estate projects are subject to an environmental review that can take as long as 3 month, so please submit your application soon so we can obligate at the earliest possible date;

·         Provision of loans for start-up operating costs and working capital;

·         Reasonable fees and charges for professional services necessary for planning and development of a project;

·         Establishment of a revolving loan fund to provide financial assistance to third parties;

·         Establishment, expansion, and operation of rural distance learning networks or development of rural learning programs that provide educational instruction or job training instruction related to potential employment or job advancements for adult students;

·         Provision of technical assistance for small and emerging businesses, including but not limited to feasibility studies and business plans.

--Project results:  Project must have a reasonable prospect that it will result in development or financing of a small and emerging business.

--Basis for success or failure (see description under opportunity grant)

*What Is A Small And Emerging Business?

Private businesses that will employ 50 or fewer new employees and have less than $1 million in projected gross revenues.  At least 51% of the outstanding ownership of the benefiting business must be either citizens of the U.S. or reside in the U.S. after being legally admitted for permanent residence.

 Scoring Considerations

·         Leveraging

·         Community conditions where area to be served has experienced a major national disaster in the last 3 years; economic distress; long-term poverty; population decline

·         Rural nature of population with higher points going to more rural areas

·         Areas of high unemployment

·         Median household income less than statewide median

·         Applicant has substantial experience in administering a rural economic development program

·         Commitment of funding for proposed project from other sources

·         Where a small business start-up or expansion is proposed

·         Job creation/support

·         Amount of grant request where the most points are given to a request of less than $100,000

·         Points are awarded if no indirect costs are requested

·         Discretionary point may be given to initial grants regarding geographic area, state goals, and special Secretary of Agriculture initiatives                              

Funds Cannot Be Used for the Following:  For a complete list, see the regulation.

·         Agricultural production, but value-added processing is eligible.  This restriction does not apply to commercial fishing, commercial nurseries, forestry, growing mushrooms, or hydroponics

·         Housing

·         Costs of preparing application

·         Pay costs prior to application

·         Pay for assistance to any private business enterprise that does not create/support jobs in US

·         Pass through grants

·         Purchase of a business incubator without charging a fair market rental

·         Purchase of equipment for a recipient without charging a fair market rental


Applications must include evidence of the applicant’s experience in the type of activity proposed.  Applications must state who will be completing the work of the grant.  For a business enterprise type grant, applications must provide information regarding which specific small and emerging businesses will be assisted.  All applications must show evidence of legal capacity, economic feasibility, and financial responsibility.

This is a summary of the grant program and does not alter the language of the regulation, which can be found in the Federal Register for March 25, 2015 at

Deadlines.  Applicants are encouraged to consult with Rural Development staff in advance of filing an application (see Contacts). 

Native American Set-Aside:  Friday, May 1, 2015

All other applications:  Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The deadline date is a received by date, not a mail date.  Applications received after the above dates may not be processed for this funding cycle.  Applications must be received at:

USDA-Rural Development

6200 Jefferson NE

Albuquerque, NM  87109


      Northern New Mexico

  Andres Aragon, USDA-Rural Development

  1927-A North 7th St

  Las Vegas, NM  87701

  505.425.3594 x 109


     Southern New Mexico

  Kathy Barrett, USDA-Rural Development

  760 Stern Drive, Suite #139

  Las Cruces, NM  88005



     State Office, Albuquerque

  Jesse Monfort Bopp, USDA-Rural Development

  6200 Jefferson NE

  Albuquerque, NM  87109

  505.761.4952; 505.761.4950



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