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USDA Accepting Rural Business Development Apps
Kansas Ag Connection - 02/17/2017

USDA Rural Development in Kansas is announcing the availability of Rural Business Development Grants (RBDG). This program is available to rural public entities including, but not limited to: towns, communities, state agencies, authorities, nonprofit corporations, institutions of higher education, Federally-recognized Tribes and rural cooperatives.

In 2016, USDA Rural Development in Kansas awarded $233,000 in Rural Business Development Grants to three organizations:

- Highland Community College. Funds were used to equip a business incubator for entrepreneurs interested in entering the Kansas wine industry. In addition to entrepreneurs having access to equipment and storage space, the incubator will provide tutoring, teaching and mentoring services provided by Highland Community College Viticulture and Enology staff.

- North Central Regional Planning Commission. Funds were used to conduct a feasibility study of operating a food hub within a grocery store. Grocery stores in Iowa, Kansas and Michigan served as pilots, and findings will be shared with communities across the states as a best-management tool.

- Together We Succeed, Inc. Funds were used to provide technical assistance to small and emerging private businesses in southeast Kansas. The organization partnered with Kansas State University students to provide access to small business marketing, social media, and E-Commerce services. Local food businesses will also receive safe food practice and food sales education.

RBDG grants can be used to identify, train and provide technical assistance to rural entrepreneurs; conduct local community or multi-county economic development planning; identify and analyze business opportunities that will use local rural materials or human resources; establish centers for training, technology and trade for rural businesses; development of real estate for uses that will assist small and emerging businesses; establishment of a revolving loan program for intermediaries that provide financial assistance to small and emerging businesses; and to support rural distance learning programs that provide educational or job training.

In Kansas, the deadlines for RBDG applications are:

- March 15 for pre-applications

- May 17 for full applications

For additional information on the RBDG program and to find application templates, visit the agency's website at: www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-business-development-grants/ks. Questions on the RBDG program can be directed to, USDA Rural Development Business Program Specialists: Nancy Pletcher at (785) 271-2733 or nancy.pletcher@ks.usda.gov; or Travis Snider at (316) 282-3477 or travis.snider@ks.usda.gov.

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