USDA Rural Development Nevada will soon announce the availability of its new Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG), which will provide funding to nonprofits, tribes and municipalities that want to enhance community business activities through real estate development, equipment purchases, technical assistance and revolving loan funds. Individual businesses are not eligible to apply.
Although the deadlines and regulations for the new program have not yet been released, USDA Rural Development State Director Sarah Adler is encouraging tribes and communities in underserved areas to start planning applications for projects in need of funding.
"This grant is a combination of the old Rural Business Enterprise Grant and the Rural Business Opportunity Grant which promote long-term economic growth and community vitality in rural areas with exceptional needs," Adler said. "Projects in our state have competed well in the past for these funds, especially within the Native American allocation."
In 2014, the Wells Band received a $48,940 grant to purchase equipment and provide training to tribal members to operate a three-unit business development retail center, which serves as an "incubator" for tribal entrepreneurs wishing to start their own businesses. The Wells Band Business Development Center will house the Wells Band Smoke Shop, Serenity Hair and Nail Salon, and Scoops Ice Cream and Coffee Parlor. The Wells Band celebrated with a soft opening in February 2015 and grand opening ceremonies are in the planning stages.
In 2014, the Indian Dispute Resolution Service received $15,036 to provide tribal entrepreneurship business classes and technical assistance for small businesses to get established and become sustainable on tribal lands.
In 2013, two Nevada tribes benefitted from the Rural Business Enterprise Grant. Pyramid Lake Tribe received a $70,000 grant for a feasibility study on developing a Tribal Internet Service Provider.
The Ely Shoshone Tribe received $20,000 to complete a feasibility study on its business enterprise activity associated with woodcutting and pinyon pine nut gathering operations.
Individual businesses are not eligible to apply, but nonprofits, public bodies and Tribes are eligible. For a Tribe to apply to assist a Tribal business enterprise, the governing board must be independent from the tribal government.
USDA Rural Development staff are eager to engage in conversation with tribal staff and leaders about potential RBDG projects and about the application process. For more information, please contact Michelle Kelly at (775) 887-1222, Ext. 118.