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Rural Business Development Grant Applications Due May 1

Jacqueline Susmann
Release Date
Jan 30, 2015

 Rural Business Development Grant

(Formerly Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) and Rural Business Opportunities Grant (RBOG)
Applications Requested

VERMONT                                   APPLICATIONS DUE: Friday May 1, 2015

Application Cycle Open: USDA Rural Development invites applications to compete for FY15 funding for the Rural Business Development Grant program.  Applications are being accepted for both State and Rural Economic Area Partnership (REAP Zone) areas.

Eligible applicants for grant funds include non-profits, municipalities, development corporations, and state agencies.

Rural Business Development Grant Program (RDBG) has consolidated both the Rural Business Enterprise and Rural Business Opportunities grant programs into one grant program.  Please indicate which project type you are applying for (see below).

  • Rural Business Enterprise Activities:  Technical assistance (i.e. feasibility studies, marketing plans) and equipment purchases (grantee must retain ownership) are encouraged (i.e. shared biz incubator equipment).  Projects involving construction or revolving loan funds are discouraged due to limited funds allocated.
  • Rural Business Opportunity Activities:  Promote sustainable economic development in rural communities, economic planning for rural communities, provide technical assistance to rural businesses, or provide training for rural entrepreneurs, or comprehensive area wide planning.

Please note:  Funding for RBOG like activities has been limited to 10% of available funds.  Please contact Rural Development if you are seeking funds for an RBOG like activity.

Agency Initiative:  Nearly all business sectors can be assisted with the program.  However, USDA-RD is placing specific emphasis on the following business sectors in 2015.

  1. Projects that support the USDA’s Bio economy Initiative
  2. Projects that impact locally produced / locally manufactured food networks and/or distribution systems.
  3. Projects located in USDA’s targeted High Poverty Areas in support of USDA’s Poverty Funding Initiative

Pre-Screen:  Please call the office listed below (802) 828-6002 to pre-screen your project.  We highly encourage pre-screening prior to application submission.  We encourage you to discuss and submit your proposals early.  Please do not wait until the deadline!

To compete for the Vermont State Allocation or the NEK REAP Zone Reserve, your completed application must be received by close of business Friday, May 1, 2015 at the RD Montpelier office – 87 State Street, Suite 324 – PO Box 249 – Montpelier, VT 05601.

Contact Susan Poland at Susan.Poland@vt.usda.gov with questions and requests for application materials. Application is the same for both types of activities.  A summary of selected Vermont projects funded during 2014 is provided for your information and reference.

Rural Business Enterprise Grants (RBEG) & Rural Business Opportunity Grants (RBOG) – FY 2014




Use Of Funds

$ Amount/ Source of Funds

Rutland Regional Planning Commission


Agritourism Toolkit

$45,000 State Allocation

Hawks Mountain Ridge Riders



$77,000 State Allocation

Sterling College


Internship Development

$25,499 State Allocation

Vermont State Colleges


E-Commerce Advising Training

$32,501 State Allocation

Burke Area Chamber of Commerce


Connecting Businesses with local resources

$69,000 REAP Zone

Saint Johnsbury Works, Inc.


Downtown Revitalization Project

$76,160 REAP Zone

Northern Community Investment Corporation


Technical Assistance – Small Businesses

$250,000 REAP Zone

Vermont Farm-to-School


Scale Up Green Mountain Farm Direct

$102,110 REAP Zone

Northern Community Investment Corporation


Model Neighborhood Wood Heat Initiative

$100,000 REAP Zone (Opportunity Like Activity)

Vermont Council on Rural Development


Planning – Community Revitalization

$100,000 REAP Zone (Opportunity Like Activity)

Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets


Feasibility Analysis for ON-Farm Renewable Natural Gas Production for Transportation Fuels

$97,433 REAP Zone (Opportunity Like Activity)

Northern Community Investment Corporation


Business Plan and Feasibility Study to establish priorities for expanding broadband services to Rural Communities

$100,000 REAP Zone (Opportunity Like Activity)

The Center for an Agricultural Economy


Update the Regional Food System Plan

$91,729 REAP Zone (Opportunity Like Activity)

Northern Forest Center


Tourism Destination Coordination and Marketing Initiative

$100,000 REAP Zone (Opportunity Like Activity)