Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG)
The Rural Business Enterprise Grant program provides grants for rural projects that finance and facilitate development of small and emerging rural businesses help fund business incubators, and help fund employment related adult education programs. To assist with business development, RBEGs may fund a broad array of activities.
Projects funded under the RBEG program benefit small and emerging private businesses in rural areas. Small and emerging private businesses are those that will employ 50 or fewer new employees and have less than $1 million in projected gross revenues. There is no required maximum level of grant funding. However, smaller projects are given higher priority. Generally grants range $10,000 up to $500,000.
Who is eligible?
- Rural Public Entities (towns, communities, state agencies)
- Indian tribes
- rural private non-profit corporations
At least 51 percent of the outstanding interest in any project must have membership or be owned by U.S. citizens or resident aliens.
A great example of the RBEG in action is the Center for Rural Affairs event MarketPlace. MarketPlace is an event totally focused on energizing small businesses and rural communities. The conference features strong, hands-on learning opportuinies for potential and existing business owners including on and off farm/ranch, store front or home based, women and Hispanic owned businesses; community leaders; and youth interested in entrepreneurship. The MarketPlace event is an excellent example of how the Rural Business Enterprise Grant can be used to help fund employment related adult education programs.
Another example of RBEG working in communities is through a business incubator in Cody, NE. The project is to create a business incubator that will support youth entrepreneurship within the Cody-Kilgore Unified School District. The initial business will be a local grocery store. As a business incubator it will provide 10-15 part time jobs in the store and potential for more jobs as other businesses are formed in the incubator. Additionally, the incubator will provide social and work skill opportunities to special education students. Training and technical assistance will be a significant part of the project as it will insure successful ventures and give students the key to entrepreneurial success.
The RBEG program is a broad based program that reaches to the core of rural development in a number of ways. Examples of eligible fund use include: Acquisition or development of land, easements, or rights of way; construction, conversion, renovation of buildings, plants, machinery, equipment, access streets and roads, parking areas, utilities; pollution control and abatement; capitalization of revolving loan funds including funds that will make loans for start ups and working capital; training and technical assistance; distance adult learning for job training and advancement; rural transportation improvement; and project planning. The wide array of possibilities transfers into incredible potential for entrepreneurs.
To apply for the RBEG program, contact your State Rural Development Office.
Click here for the Department of Agriculture page regarding the Rural Business Enterprise Grant Program.
To learn more about the Rural Business Enterprise Grant, contact Kathie Starkweather at KathieS@cfra.org .
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