Rural Business Opportunity Grant

The Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG) was designed to promote sustained development in rural communities with exceptional needs. RBOG supplies grant funding to train, educate and provide technical assistance to improve lives in rural communities.


California Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils, an association of 11 councils that provide economic and natural resource conservation aid throughout California, received a $250,000 award to develop a regional food system, add value to livestock processing and marketing, utilize biomass, and develop renewable energy and agricultural resources.  The CARC&DC will use funds to work in partnership with researchers, educators and economic development professionals from 18 organizations across the state to foster development and growth of locally-based businesses in four regions throughout California.


Ecotrust, an organization based in Portland, Oregon that seeks to create economic opportunity, social equity and environmental well-being by demonstrating new business models based on economic, social and environmental principles, received a $249,340 grant to support their FoodHub initiative, an online directory and marketplace that makes it easy for regional food buyers and sellers to find each other, connect and do business.  The grant will aid Ecotrust in increasing recruitment of producers and buyers in rural communities and providing the training and assistance necessary to ensure FoodHub supports their goals.

How does it work?

The purpose of this program is to promote sustainable economic development in rural communities with exceptional needs by:

Focusing on communities that have experienced:

  • trauma due to natural disasters or fundamental structural changes
  • persistently poor
  • long-term population decline or job deterioration

This program is meant to focus on projects that are sustainable over a long term with local effort and without external subsidies.


  • Identify and analyze business opportunities
  • Identify, train, and assist existing or prospective rural entrepreneurs.
  • Establish business support centers.
  • Conduct community or multi-county economic development planning.
  • Establish centers for training, technology, and trade.
  • Conduct leadership development training.

Who is Eligible?

  • Nonprofit Corporations
  • Public Bodies
  • Indian Tribes
  • Cooperatives made of primarily rural residents

Other Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be a reasonable prospect project that will result in economic development.
  • Proposal must include a basis for determining success or failure.
  • Must be consistent with any local and area strategic plans and Rural Development State Strategic plan, coordinated with any other economic development activities within the project area.
  • Must be doable in two years or funded one year at a time.

Entrepreneurial Opportunities

The Rural Business Opportunity Grant expands entrepreneurship on a couple of different levels. By providing funding for training, education and technical assistance it substantially increases the access to quality information for rural entrepreneurs. It also provides an opportunity to create and establish eligible groups that can apply and use the grant money.


To apply for RBOG contact your local Rural Development Area Office.

Click here for the USDA website concerning the Rural Business Opportunity Grant

Learn More

To learn more about the Rural Business Investment Program, contact Kathie Starkweather at .