Rural Development Business Opportunity Grants, Deadline Aug. 1

The RBOG program promotes sustainable economic development in rural communities with exceptional needs through provision of training and technical assistance for business development, entrepreneurs, and economic development officials and to assist with economic development planning.

Who is eligible?
Rural public bodies, rural nonprofit corporations, rural Indian tribes, and cooperatives with primarily rural members that conduct activities for the mutual benefit of the membership are eligible provided they have sufficient financial strength and expertise to carry out the activity to be funded.

How much money is available?
Expected Number of Awards:     27
Estimated Total Program Funding:     $2,500,000
Award Ceiling:     $150,000

What is the maximum grant amount?
The maximum grant amount may vary from year to year, depending on availability of funds. The best way to know the maximum amount is to check the annual Notice of Funds Availability (see link at the top of the page for the current Notice).

What does rural mean?
A rural area is any area other than a city or town with a population of greater than 50,000 and any urbanized area contiguous and adjacent to such a city or town according to the latest decennial census. However, the 2008 Farm Bill created some additional exclusionary language, so if you are not sure if an area meets the definition of rural, you should check with your local Rural Development office

What types of projects are eligible?
The RBOG program is primarily a training and technical assistance program. Funds may be provided for development of export markets; feasibility studies; development of long term trade strategies; community economic development planning; business training and business based technical assistance for rural entrepreneurs and business managers; establishment of rural business incubators; and assistance with technology based economic development. The types of projects that may be funded might include identification/ analysis of business opportunities that will utilize local material and human resources; provision of leadership development training to existing or prospective rural entrepreneurs and managers; business support centers; centers for training, technology and export trade; and, economic development planning;

Rural Development Business Opportunity Grants, Deadline Aug. 1

Woody Biomass Engineering Grants, Deadline March 1

The U.S. Forest Service, State and Private Forestry, Technology Marketing Unit, located at the Forest Products Laboratory, requests proposals for wood energy projects that require engineering services. These projects will use woody biomass material removed from forest restoration activities, such as wildfire hazardous fuel treatments, insect and disease mitigation, forest management due to catastrophic weather events, and/or thinning overstocked stands. The woody biomass shall be used in a bioenergy facility that uses commercially proven technologies to produce thermal, electrical or liquid/gaseous bioenergy.

The funds from the Woody Biomass Utilization Grant program (WBU) must be used to further the planning of such facilities by funding the engineering services necessary for final design and cost analysis. Examples of such projects include engineering design of a 1) woody biomass boiler for steam at a sawmill, 2) non-pressurized hot water system for various applications at a hospital or school, and 3) biomass power generation facility, or similar facilities. This program is aimed at helping applicants complete the necessary design work needed to secure public and/or private investment for construction.

Contact us for more information!

Current Closing Date for Applications:     Mar 01, 2011
Funding Instrument Type:                             Grant
Expected Number of Awards:                      15
Estimated Total Program Funding:           $3,700,000
Award Ceiling:                                                   $250,000
Cost Sharing or Matching Requirement:     Yes

Eligible Applicants

  • State governments
  • County governments
  • City or township governments
  • Special district governments
  • Independent school districts
  • Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
  • Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
  • Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Private institutions of higher education
  • For profit organizations other than small businesses
  • Small businesses
  • Others (see text field entitled “Additional Information on Eligibility” for clarification)

Additional Information on Eligibility:

Eligible applicants are businesses, companies, corporations, state, local and tribal governments, school districts, communities, non-profit organizations, or special purpose districts (e.g., public utilities districts, fire districts, conservation districts, or ports). Only one application per business or organization shall be accepted.

Woody Biomass Engineering Grants, Deadline March 1

EDA Changes Format for FY2011

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Above: The Gaylord Industrial Park, an EDA-Funded Project Designed by GFA

In FY 2011 EDA will move to a quarterly funding cycle system. Beginning on October 14, 2010 applications will still be accepted on a continuing basis, but must be received by the deadlines set out below in order to be considered for funding during a particular cycle. Eligible applicants have the option of receiving preliminary feedback on an application’s technical and competitive merits by submitting the application for an optional preliminary review. EDA will provide such feedback no later than 15 business days after EDA’s receipt of an application, and applicants will have the opportunity to revise and/or supplement the application as necessary or submit a new application by the funding cycle deadline or in time for consideration in a subsequent funding cycle. Applicants that elect to receive such feedback must submit an application sufficiently in advance of the applicable funding cycle deadline so that EDA can provide feedback and the applicant can revise and/or provide additional documentation or submit anew by the deadline. EDA will not select projects for funding until after the funding cycle deadline has passed.

Hard copy applications must be delivered with a postmark or courier service’s time and date stamp dated on or before 5:00 pm local time in the applicable regional office on the funding cycle deadline date. For FY 2011, the funding cycle deadlines are as follows:
December 15 for funding cycle 1;
March 10 for funding cycle 2;
June 10 for funding cycle 3; and
September 15 for funding cycle 1 of FY 2012.

EDA’s overall mission is to help distressed communities establish a foundation for durable regional economies throughout the United States. Grants made under these programs will focus on innovation and regional collaboration to create and retain higher wage and sustainable jobs, leverage the flow of private capital, encourage economic development, and strengthen America’s ability to compete in the global marketplace. EDA encourages its rural and urban partners around the country to develop initiatives that advance new ideas and creative approaches to address rapidly evolving economic conditions.

Eligible applicants include a(n):

(i) District Organization of a designated Economic Development District (EDD);

(ii) Indian Tribe or a consortium of Indian Tribes;

(iii) State, city, or other political subdivision of a State, including a special purpose unit of a State or local government engaged in economic or infrastructure development activities, or a consortium of political subdivisions;

(iv) institution of higher education or a consortium of institutions of higher education; or

(v) public or private non-profit organization or association acting in cooperation with officials of a political subdivision of a State.

EDA will evaluate applications on a competitive basis in order to maximize the economic revitalization impact of the program based on the extent to which applications address the following core evaluation criteria:
Address National Strategic Priorities, including technology-led development, support for small- and medium-sized businesses, global competitiveness and innovation, economic dislocation due to auto industry restructuring or natural disasters, commercializing research, and environmentally sustainable development.
Assist Economically Distressed and Underserved Communities to strengthen diverse communities that have suffered disproportionate economic and job losses and/or are rebuilding to become more competitive in the global economy.
Demonstrate a good return on EDA’s investment through job creation or retention and/or serving as a catalyst for private sector investment.
Demonstrate or support regional collaboration to support the development and growth of innovation clusters based on existing regional competitive strengths.
Employ public-private partnerships to use both public and private resources and/or leverage complementary investments by other government/public entities and/or non-profits.

Contact us for more information on EDA programs!

EDA Changes Format for FY2011

New RMAP Program to Support Rural Small Business

The Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program is a new program that will make grants to organizations that provide training, technical assistance or make small loans to new and existing rural small businesses. This program will provide grants and loan funds to organizations that provide training, technical assistance and/or small loans to rural small business owners, facilitate access to capital and access to services for rural microenterprises.

The funding is channeled to three areas:

  • Loans to microentrepreneurs through applicant organizations: Funds to provide fixed interest rate microloans of less than $50,000 to rural entrepreneurs for the development or start-up of successful microenterprises in rural areas.
  • Grants to organizations to assist microentrepreneurs (connected to loan funds): Funding to organizations to provide marketing, management, and other technical assistance to microentrepreneurs who received or are seeking a loan from the microenterprise development organization.
  • Grants to support microenterprise development (not connected to loan funds): Funding to organizations to provide training, operational support, business planning, market development assistance, and other services to rural entrepreneurs.

The Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program program will be administered as a national program through USDA Rural Development’s Business Programs Office.

Organizations eligible to apply for funding include nonprofit organizations, public institutions of higher education, and tribal governments that are not served by a nonprofit development organization.

Applicants should have a demonstrated record of delivering services to rural microentrepreneurs or an effective plan to develop such a program. Applicant organizations do not need to be located in a rural area, but they must serve rural entrepreneurs. Microenterprises can be food or agriculture-related but are not required to be.

The farm bill defines organizations meeting the above qualifications as Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDO).

Applications must meet the following standards:

  • Federal share of the cost of a project funded by this program shall not exceed 75%
  • MDOs must match at least 15% of any grant amount
  • Not more than 10% of any grant received may be used for administrative expenses

Definitions:

  • Microentrepreneur: an owner and operator or prospective owner or operator of a rural microenterprise unable to obtain sufficient training, technical assistance or credit
  • Microloan: a business loan of not more than $50,000
  • Rural: any area other than 1) a city or town with 50,000 or greater population, or 2) an urbanized area contiguous or adjacent to a city or town with 50,000 or greater population
  • Rural Microenterprise: sole proprietorship or business with no more than 10 full-time equivalent employees
  • Microenterprise development organization (MDO): an organization that is a nonprofit entity, Indian tribe (that is not served by an MDO), or public institution of higher education that provides training and technical assistance to rural microentrepreneurs, facilitates access to capital and services to rural microenterprises and has a demonstrated record of delivering services to rural microentrepreneurs or an effective plan to develop such a program.

Funding Opportunity Number: RDBCP-10-RMAP
Current Closing Date for Applications: Jul 16, 2010
Archive Date: Aug 16, 2010
Funding Instrument Type: Grant
Expected Number of Awards: 35
Estimated Total Program Funding: $8,900,000
Award Ceiling: $130,000

Additional Information on Eligibility:
Non-profit entities, Indian tribes, and public institutions of higher education that, for the benefit of rural microentrepreneurs and microenterprises, provides training and technical assistance, makes microloans or facilitates access to capital or another related service, and/or has demonstrated record of delivering, or an effective plan to develop a program to deliver such services.

Eligible MDOs will automatically be eligible to receive technical assistance grants to provide technical assistance and training to microentrepreneurs that have received or are seeking a microloan under the RMAP. These grants are limited to an amount equal to not more than 25 percent of the loan to an MDO under the RMAP. Technical assistance-only (TA-only) grants will competitively be made to MDOs for the purpose of providing technical assistance and training to prospective borrowers. TA-only grants will be made to eligible MDOs that seek to provide business-based technical assistance and training to eligible microentrepreneurs and microenterprises, but do not seek funding for a direct loan under RMAP.

New RMAP Program to Support Rural Small Business

Energy Grant Roundup

First of all we would like to take a moment to congratulate our client, the Mancelona Area Water & Sewer Authority, on once again being named “Best Tasting Water in the Region” by the American Water Works Assn (MI) and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources & Environment! This is a third-time win for MAWSA, with top honors in 2010, 2007 and 2006. This project first broke ground in the fall of 2001, and included over 17 miles of new watermain.

On to the energy grants available!

Clean Energy Advanced Manufacturing grants and loans will provide $20 million to assist small manufacturing companies, currently located in Michigan, to diversify into high-growth clean energy sectors and invest in advanced manufacturing of renewable energy and energy efficiency systems and components. Any business physically located in Michigan with 500 or fewer full-time or equivalent employees, or a business that relocates to Michigan by the time of the award is eligible to apply.
Energy Efficiency – due May 21: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/dleg/CEAM_Energy_Efficiency_RFP_318749_7.pdf
Renewable Energy – due May 14: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/dleg/CEAM_Renewable_Energy_RFP_318752_7.pdf

USDA Energy Grant program options:

REAP Renewal Energy Program
(Rural Energy for America Program, formerly known as the “§9006” program) offers grants and/or loan guarantees for the purchase and installation of renewable energy generating systems. Assistance is limited to small businesses and farmers & ranchers. Projects must be located in a rural area. REAP grants and guarantees may be used individually or in combination. Together they may finance up to 75% of a project’s cost. Grants can never finance more than 25% of the project or $500,000 — whichever is less. (The REAP program also supports energy efficiency projects.)

Authorized uses include:

  • Renewable energy machinery & equipment – purchase & installation (including reimbursement for these costs only if the costs were incurred after submitting your application).
  • Renewable energy real estate improvements – materials & construction (including reimbursement for these costs only if the costs were incurred after
  • Feasibility studies, technical/engineering reports, permits, professional fees, & business plans (including reimbursement for such costs whether incurred submitting your application).before or afterapplication date).

REAP Energy Efficiency Program

(Rural Energy for America Program, formerly known as the “§9006” program) offers grants and/or loan guarantees for the purchase and installation of energy efficiency improvements. Assistance is limited to small businesses and farmers & ranchers. Projects must be located in a rural area. REAP grants and guarantees may be used individually or in combination. Together they may finance up to 75% of a project’s cost. Grants can never finance more than 25% of the project or $250,000 — whichever is less. (The REAP program also supports renewable energy projects.)

REAP applications are now being accepted for FY2010; the application deadline is June 30, 2010. Awards are likely to be announced in summer 2010.Note: Applicants seeking REAP grants of $20,000 or less are greatly favored in the 2010 selection process.

Contact us for more information!

Energy Grant Roundup

Rural Business Opportunity Grants, Pre-Review Deadline April 28

Rural Development has an active Notice of Funding Availability for Rural Business Opportunity Grants (RBOG). Grant funds may be used to assist in the economic development of rural areas by providing technical assistance for business development and economic development planning.

Eligible applicants: Local, State, or Federal government entities; nonprofit corporations; tribal entities; and cooperatives with members who are primarily rural residents and that conduct activities for the mutual benefit of the members.

Funding amounts: $7,480,000 total funds are allotted to this program in 2010, with a maximum of $250,000 available for each entity. No match required!

One-step process: Funding decisions are made on the basis of one round of applications, although Rural Development does offer a pre-review of applications if received by April 28.

Project examples: Grant funds may be used for, but are not limited to, the following purposes:

  • Identify and analyze business opportunities that will use local rural materials or human resources. This includes opportunities in export markets, as well as feasibility and business plan studies.
  • Identify, train, and provide technical assistance to existing or prospective rural entrepreneurs and managers;
  • Establish business support centers and otherwise assist in the creation of new rural businesses;
  • Conduct local community or multi-county economic development planning;
  • Establish centers for training, technology, and trade that will provide training to rural businesses in the utilization of interactive communications technologies to develop international trade opportunities and markets;
  • Conduct leadership development training of existing or prospective rural entrepreneurs and managers; or
  • Pay reasonable fees and charges for professional services necessary to conduct the technical assistance, training, or planning functions.

Priorities:
Projects should be designed to help rural communities in the region create wealth so they are self-sustaining, repopulating and thriving economically, especially using any of the following USDA key strategies in sustainable ways:

  1. Local and regional food systems as a strategy for encouraging production agriculture and related industries in new wealth creation;
  2. Renewable energy generation, energy conservation, and/or climate change adaptation or mitigation as strategies for quality job creation;
  3. Use of broadband and other critical infrastructure as a strategy to facilitate local entrepreneurship and expansion of market opportunities for small businesses;
  4. Access to capital in rural areas as a strategy to ensure continuous business development and job creation/retention; and
  5. Innovative utilization of natural resources as a strategy to expand business opportunities.

Key dates:
April 28, 2010: Optional pre-review deadline.
June 28, 2010: Final application due date.
September 15, 2010: Anticipated award date.

Contact us for more information!

Rural Business Opportunity Grants, Pre-Review Deadline April 28

Agriculture Marketing Grants, Due Nov 30

Value Added Producer Program

Rural Development has issued their Value Added Producer Grant program for the next fiscal year. Applicants must be an independent producer, agriculture producer group, farmer or rancher cooperative, or majority-controlled producer-based business venture as defined in 7 CFR 4284, subpart A.

The primary objective of this grant program is to help eligible independent producers of agricultural commodities, agricultural producer groups, farmer and rancher cooperatives, and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures develop strategies to create marketing opportunities and to help develop business plans for viable marketing opportunities. Eligible agricultural producer groups, farmer and rancher cooperatives, and majority controlled producer-based business ventures must limit their proposals to emerging markets. These grants will facilitate greater participation in emerging markets and new markets for value-added products. Grants will only be awarded if projects or ventures are determined to be economically viable and sustainable. No more than 10 percent of the program funds can go to applicants that are majority controlled producer-based business ventures.

Expected Number of Awards: 130
Estimated Total Program Funding: $1,840,000
Award Ceiling: $300,000

Applicants must certify that Matching Funds will be available at the same time grant funds are anticipated to be spent and that Matching Funds will be spent in advance of grant funding, such that for every dollar of grant funds advanced, not less than an equal amount of Matching Funds will have been expended prior to submitting the request for reimbursement. Please note that this certification is a separate requirement from the Verification of Matching Funds requirement. A separate signature is not required.

Agriculture Marketing Grants, Due Nov 30

Renewable Energy Direct Cash Reimbursements

Recovery Act Announcement: Energy, Treasury Now Accepting Applications for Funding for Renewable Energy Projects
July 31, 2009

With the goal of expanding development of renewable energy projects throughout the United States and creating new jobs, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced they are now accepting applications for a program that will make direct payments in lieu of tax credits to companies that create and place in service renewable energy facilities. The two Departments estimate distributing at least $3 billion in financial support to approximately 5,000 biomass, solar, wind, and other types of renewable energy production facilities. The funding for this effort is made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The Recovery Act authorized Treasury to make direct payments to companies that create and place in service renewable energy facilities beginning January 1, 2009. Previously, these companies could file for a tax credit to cover a portion of the renewable energy project’s cost; under the new program, applicants would agree to forgo future tax credits in favor of an immediate reimbursement of a portion of the property expense. The Energy Department will assist Treasury in implementing this program by reviewing the technical merits of the applications.

Contact us for more information, have a great summer weekend!

Renewable Energy Direct Cash Reimbursements