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Rural Business Development Grants in Arkansas

Open Date: November 23, 2022. Applications are accepted year-round. Close Date: February 28, 2023, 4:30 p.m. local time. Applications must be received by February 28, 2023, 4:30 p.m. local time.

Grants To Provide Technical Assistance for Rural Transportation (RT) Systems

USDA is inviting applications for grants to provide Technical Assistance for passenger Rural Transportation (RT) systems under the Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) program and the terms for such funding. Federal Register Notice
Application Dates  Open Date: January 19, 2023
Close Date: April 19, 2023, 4:30 p.m. local time

What does this program do?

This program is designed to provide technical assistance and training for small rural businesses. Small means that the business has fewer than 50 new workers and less than $1 million in gross revenue.
Who may apply for this program?
Rural public entities including, but not limited to:
  • Towns.
  • Communities.
  • State agencies.
  • Authorities.
  • Nonprofit corporations.
  • Institutions of higher education.
  • Federally-recognized tribes.
  • Rural cooperatives (if organized as a private nonprofit corporation).
What is an eligible area?
Rural Business Development Grant money must be used for projects that benefit rural areas or towns outside the urbanized periphery of any city with a population of 50,000 or more. Check eligible areas.
What kind of funding is available?
There is no maximum grant amount; however, smaller requests are given higher priority. There is no cost sharing requirement. There are two types of RBDG projects, Opportunity grants and Enterprise grants. Opportunity type grants are limited to up to 10 percent of the total Rural Business Development Grant annual funding. Enterprise type grants must be used on projects to benefit small and emerging businesses in rural areas as specified in the grant application.
How may Enterprise type funds be used?
  • Training and technical assistance, such as project planning, business counseling and training, market research, feasibility studies, professional or/technical reports, or producer service improvements.
  • Acquisition or development of land, easements, or rights of way; construction, conversion, renovation of buildings; plants, machinery, equipment, access for streets and roads; parking areas and utilities.
  • Pollution control and abatement.
  • The capitalization of revolving loan funds, including funds that will make loans for start-ups and working capital.
  • Rural distance learning for job training and advancement for adult students.
  • Rural transportation improvement.
  • Community economic development.
  • Technology-based economic development.
  • Feasibility studies and business plans.
  • Leadership and entrepreneur training.
  • Rural business incubators.
  • Long-term business strategic planning.
How may Opportunity type funds be used?
  • Community economic development.
  • Technology-based economic development.
  • Feasibility studies and business plans.
  • Leadership and entrepreneur training.
  • Rural business incubators.
  • Long-term business strategic planning.
How are applications evaluated?
All applications are evaluated based on:
  • Evidence showing job creation at local businesses.
  • Percent of non-federal funding committed to the project.
  • Economic need in the area to be served.
  • Consistency with local economic development priorities.
  • Experience of the grantee with similar efforts.
Other factors are described in the Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA).
How do we get started?
  • Applications are accepted through USDA Rural Development’s local or state offices. Applicants are advised to view program information specific to your local or state office to learn about local application timelines, concept paper requirements, etc.
  • Grant awardees will need to complete required paperwork and comply with the terms and conditions of the award. Contact your local or state office for details.
Who can answer questions?
What law governs this program?
Citations and other information may be subject to change, please always consult the program instructions listed in this section.
This program is authorized by the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (ConAct). Basic Program – 7 CFR Part 4280, Subpart E
What governed the predecessor programs of Rural Business Enterprise Grants (RBEG) and Rural Business Opportunity Grants (RBOG), as well as all awards given before FY 2015?
Why does USDA Rural Development do this?
This program provides grant money to assist with economic development planning and/or the financing or expansion of rural businesses. 

NOTE: If state specific forms are not shown above, please refer to the application materials listed below to start the process of applying. Please ensure that your state is selected in the dropdown menu above to find the State Office contact information for this program and speak to a Business Programs Specialist before attempting to fill out any forms or applications. This will save you valuable time in the process.

Preliminary Actions Required

To complete an application for this program, you must be pre-registered with the System for Award Management (SAM). Neither of these applications cost money, but they can take time so be sure to get this taken care of right away. If you are already registered with these systems, you do not need to do it again.

Special Alert for SAM Registrants

Last year, we alerted our vendor community to third party companies offering to help you update information contained within the System for Award Management (www.SAM.gov) website, for a fee. Your SAM registration contains sensitive business information, including your banking information and other sensitive information, so your login and password should not be shared with anyone outside your company. As a reminder, the use of the System for Award Management website is free to use and update, and the Commodity Procurement Staff does not see a reason to pay anyone to provide that service. 

Secondly, we have just become aware of a couple of scam emails that offer to “help companies start the renewal process online” or suggest that “Your Federal Profile is Almost Complete. Immediate Action Required!” In both cases, your free access to SAM.gov will resolve any questions you may have regarding your registration in SAM.gov.  As you know SAM.gov requires an annual recertification and sends out email reminders prior to the expiration, and again, updates should be handled by company employees. Furthermore, if your registration is not complete, you may login to SAM.gov to make that determination for yourself. 

Please remember that SAM.gov is not affiliated with the USDA and is a government-wide website not maintained by our Agency. If you have any questions regarding access or how to use SAM, please contact their help desk at 866-606-8220, option #1.

There are no additional requirements at the national level. If there are additional state-specific requirements, they will be listed above.

state tab for program contacts

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