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  • USDA seeks applications for rural Maine community economic development projects

    Through the USDA’s Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) program $290,000 is now available for business development projects in Maine’s rural communities.

    “The RBDG program helps provide rural areas of the state with additional means for pursuing diverse economic development opportunities, which can lead to job creation and the strengthening of local economies,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel.

     Eligible applicants include public bodies, nonprofit corporations, and Native American tribes, who can utilize these funds for the benefit of private, small business enterprises in the communities that they serve.  Project types can range from real property development and equipment acquisition, to technical assistance, planning and training, to revolving loan fund capitalization.

     The grant award process is competitive, and priorities are established for: leveraging other resources, areas of economic distress, lower populations, higher unemployment, lower incomes, experience of the applicant, small business start-up or expansion, job creation, and supporting agency initiatives.  Projects that support strategic multi-jurisdictional development, the bioeconomy, local and regional food systems, renewable energy, and high-poverty areas are typically looked upon very favorably. 

    Grant awards are also generally under $100,000 each.

     All areas of the state are considered rural and eligible for this program, with the exceptions of Portland and surrounding parts of Falmouth, Westbrook, Scarborough, South Portland and Cape Elizabeth.

     Applications for the RBDG program are due by May 2, 2016. For questions or more information on how to apply, please contact Rural Development Business Programs Specialist Brian Wilson at 990-9168 or brian.wilson@me.usda.gov.