LINCOLN — Joan Scheel, director of Nebraska’s rural development business programs, encourages support for small businesses in rural Nebraska through rural business development grants. This program is now open to new applications.
“We’re proud to support small businesses through grants and loans, helping our rural main streets thrive,” Scheel said. “Anyone can help local businesses succeed by ‘shopping local’ this holiday season and letting people know about the resources available from USDA Rural Development.”
In addition to supporting local businesses as customers, community members can work with USDA Rural Development to access resources to support projects in rural areas that provide small businesses with training, funding loans and technical assistance.
These projects have significant impacts in rural areas. For example, a $43,229 grant to the Hayes County Economic Development Corporation was used to support a local grocery store, a place where local residents can purchase these special holiday meal items in their own community.
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Hayes County Economic Development Corporation director Craig Softley used the funds to provide a loan to Kylene Littrel, who had recently moved with her family to Hayes County and expressed interest in buying a grocery store. local. Softley was able to help her create a business plan and apply for funding.
Littrel submitted loan applications to Pinnacle Bank and the Hayes County Economic Development Corporation’s RBDG Revolving Loan Fund Committee, and in May 2018 she and her husband, Robert, became the new owners of Scott’s Grocery in Hayes. Center.
Softley said the only other options for Hayes’ 214 residents would have been to travel more than 26 miles. He thanks the USDA RD for saving his community.
“Hayes County is grateful for the relationship we have with Marla Marx, our USDA Service Representative, and for the USDS RD grant we received, which allowed us to set up a local revolving loan fund,” Softley said. . “The revolving loan funds have now been used to transition three existing Hayes County businesses to new owners and, most importantly, have kept those businesses open to serve Hayes County residents.”
Money from the Rural Enterprise Development Grant is to be used for projects that benefit rural areas or cities outside the urbanized periphery of any city with a population of 50,000 or more, including cities, communities, state agencies, nonprofit corporations, institutions of higher education, federally recognized tribes, and rural nonprofit cooperative corporations.
These grants provide technical assistance, revolving loan funds, and/or training to small rural businesses with fewer than 50 employees and less than $1 million in gross revenue.
There is no maximum grant amount; however, smaller requests are given higher priority. There is no cost sharing requirement. Opportunity grants are limited to 10% of total annual rural business development grant funding.
Scheel says she hopes new applicants contact her team by December 31, so they can refine proposals and have full packages before the next funding deadline, which is expected to be in early 2023.
For more information, contact the following RD personnel:
Trade Programs Specialist Marla J. Marx, 308-632-2195, [email protected]
Trade Programs Specialist Brant Richardson, 402-437-5568, [email protected]
Trade Programs Specialist Jolene Jones, 308-455-9840, [email protected]