USDA seeks applications to support businesses, create jobs in rural areas

HILO, Hawaii—USDA Rural Development is seeking applications for the Rural Business Development Grant Program to compete for fiscal year 2016 funding. Applications for Hawaii and the Western Pacific are due by close of business April 15, 2016.

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.

RBDG is a competitive grant designed to support targeted technical assistance (providing assistance for marketing studies, feasibility studies, business plans, training, etc.) by purchasing machinery and equipment that is leased to a small and emerging business, creating a revolving loan fund (providing partial funding as a loan to a small and emerging business for the purchase of equipment, working capital, or real estate), and support rural distance learning programs that provide educational or job-training.

Last year, the Hawaii / Western Pacific region was allocated $177,000 for the RBDG program (Hawaii, $113,000; Western Pacific, $64,000). As a result, five projects were selected to fund technical assistance and training programs and assist with obtaining equipment for small and emerging businesses.

The 2014 Farm Bill provides up to 10 percent set aside RBDG funds for projects that support strategic economic development or community development plans.

For more information on the RBDG program, and to request application materials, contact business programs specialist Anthony C. Barcinas at (671) 300-8567 or anthony.barcinas@pb.usda.gov.

President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way-strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. (USDA)

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