“The Rural Business Enterprise Grant program (RBEG) is one of the most flexible economic development opportunities offered by USDA Rural Development.” Those words from New Mexico State Director Terry Brunner kicked off a webinar workshop recently to discuss the RBEG program and how to apply for funds.
In the past, here in New Mexico, the RBEG has been used to fund business incubators, feasibility studies, business plans, and it has financed technical assistance programs for business development.
Earlier this month, the staff from Rural Development’s State Office in New Mexico hosted a workshop that gave a complete overview of the RBEG program explaining the funding is made available to public bodies, nonprofit organizations, public and private nonprofit institutions of higher education, and Indian tribes to facilitate and finance the development of small and emerging private business enterprises in rural communities and cities up to 50,000 in population.
The grant funds can be used to finance and facilitate the development of small, private, business enterprises which is any private business that employs 50 or fewer new employees and has less than $1 million in projected gross revenues. The RBEG funds can also be used to pay for technical assistance for such things as feasibility studies, business plans, business development training, or workshops.
Last fiscal year, USDA Rural Development provided $283,000 to assist six New Mexico recipients. USDA Rural Development in New Mexico is currently accepting applications for the Rural Business Enterprise Grants (RBEG) program until close of business, Friday, April 12, 2013.
Meanwhile, In Wisconsin, USDA Rural Development staff hosted a roundtable discussion on revolving loan fund (RLF) availability with stakeholders from across the state. Rural Development Wisconsin State Director Stan Gruszynski began the roundtable by providing an overview of the purpose of the discussion, to bring everyone together to facilitate a conversation that would foster new partnerships and investments in rural communities across the state.
One attendee said, “There is high demand for lending opportunities across Wisconsin, but high administrative costs that are not included in the program funding has made it difficult to reach potential projects and provide the necessary technical assistance to ensure success.” Another attendee noted, “Small businesses grow faster with this type of assistance, which lead to higher skilled and higher wage jobs. And it is the growth of these small businesses that will help the economy to recover.”
RLF lending programs aim to help new and existing business owners to become financially independent and eventually to become eligible for loans from commercial banks. RLFs are also an excellent source of gap financing; filling the gap between the borrower’s equity injection and the funds available from other traditional lending sources. Since 2009, USDA Rural Development has assisted in creating or saving nearly 11,800 jobs across the State of Wisconsin through its business programs.
To find out about how to apply for support from USDA business development programs in your state, click here.
Information on the RBEG program can be obtained on our website.