Applicants sought for grant program


HILO, Hawaii—USDA Rural Development state director for Hawaii and the Western Pacific Chris Kanazawa announced Friday the agency is seeking applications for the Rural Business Development Grant Program. RBDG grants are available to public bodies, non-profit organizations and federally recognized tribal groups to finance and facilitate various business opportunity or business enterprise projects that serve rural areas.

“Access to capital is a critical component to helping our rural businesses create jobs and build stronger, more vibrant rural communities,” said Kanazawa. “This grant program is an important tool to help provide those financial resources many businesses wouldn’t otherwise have access to.”

The RBDG program can assist with targeted technical assistance such as marketing and feasibility studies and business plans, purchasing equipment for small and emerging businesses, creating a revolving loan fund, and supporting rural distance learning programs for educational or job training.

Applications are due by close of business on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017.

Last year, USDA Rural Development assisted five organizations with RBDG awards in Hawaii and the Western Pacific for a total of $165,000 in grant funds. For example, the University of Hawaii utilized a $24,555 RBDG award to provide technical assistance which included a business plan and feasibility study that will assist four new aquaculture farmers.

For more information on the RBDG program, or to request application materials contact a Business Programs specialist serving your area:

Hawaii County and Maui County: Lori M. Nekoba, or 808-933-8312

Oahu, Kauai, and American Samoa: Shirley M. U. Heatherly, or 808-541-2600 Ext. 139

Western Pacific: Anthony Barcinas, or 671-300-8567

Since 2009, USDA Rural Development has helped more than 1.2 million rural residents buy homes; funded nearly 9,200 community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care facilities; and invested more than $14 billion to start or expand nearly 122,000 rural businesses.

USDA also invested $38.6 billion in 1,057 electric projects that have financed more than 198,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines serving 4.6 million rural residents; and helped bring high-speed internet access to nearly 6 million rural residents and businesses. For more information, visit (USDA)

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