Rural Business Opportunity Grants (RBOG)
Max award: $100,000
Big idea: The RBOG program promotes economic growth in rural communities by supporting training and technical assistance for business development and to assist with regional economic development planning. A specific emphasis within RBOG is support for collaborative economic planning and development through regional food systems.
Who can apply: Local governments, economic development organizations, non-profit organizations, Indian tribes, and cooperatives are eligible to apply. For the purposes of this program a "rural community" is an area where the population does not exceed 50,000, or is next to a city or town with more than 50,000 people.
Possibilities: The types of projects that may be funded include:
- Regional economic planning focused on food system development;
- Market development and feasibility studies;
- Business training, including leadership development and technical assistance for entrepreneurs;
- Establishing business incubators, including commercial kitchens.
Real example: Ecotrust, a non-profit organization located in Oregon, created FoodHub, an online marketplace that allows large-scale purchasers of food to connect with nearby growers. Through a $250,000 Rural Business Opportunity Grant, USDA is supporting the recruitment of more producers and buyers in rural communities throughout the Pacific Northwest, and to provide training and technical assistance to ensure FoodHub is able to help their businesses grow.