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USDA Seeks Applications to Support Rural Businesses and Create Jobs


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ANCHORAGE, Alaska – March 1, 2017 - U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development (USDA-RD) Alaska Acting State Director Renee Johnson has announced the agency is now accepting applications for the Rural Business Development Grant Program.

 

   Rural Business Development Grants (RBDG) are competitive grants designed to support targeted technical assistance, training and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging, private rural businesses that have (or will have) fewer than 50 employees and less than $1 million in gross revenues.

 

   Eligible applicants for the RBDG program include non-profits, public bodies (including State agencies, towns, boroughs, communities, authorities and districts), institutions of higher learning, rural non-profit cooperatives, and federally-recognized Tribes.  Individuals and for-profit businesses are not eligible to apply.

 

   Funds may be used for a variety of purposes, including: technical assistance and training to rural entrepreneurs; feasibility and business plans; establishing business support centers; conducting local economic development planning; acquiring or developing land, buildings, plants and equipment to be leased to small business enterprises; establishing revolving loan programs; and supporting rural distance learning programs that provide adult educational or job training.

 

   In Alaska, it is anticipated that approximately $135,000 will be allocated for the RBDG program this fiscal year. In addition, another pool of nationally competitive funds is available for projects where 75 percent of the benefits of the project will be received by members of a federally recognized Tribe. 

 

   Complete applications must be postmarked or delivered to USDA-Rural Development Alaska’s State or Area Offices no later than April 28, 2017. Emailed applications will not be accepted.

 

   For more information or questions on the RBDG program, or locations of Alaska Rural Development offices, please contact Robin Ezzo, Business Program Specialist, at (907) 761-7718, or at robin.ezzo@ak.usda.gov.   

 

   USDA-RD has invested $2.16 billion in 236 rural Alaskan communities since 2009.  These investments have financed housing, community facilities, business, energy, sanitation, telecom and electric infrastructure.  This financial backing has helped to grow rural Alaska’s economy and enhance the quality of life for its rural residents. 

 

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