USDA seeks applications for grants to help socially disadvantaged rural businesses

Contributed by Gayle Aubrey, USDA

USDA Rural Development Texas State Director Paco Valentin today announced that USDA is seeking applications for grants to provide assistance to socially-disadvantaged business groups in rural areas.

  “One of USDA Rural Development’s missions is to provide assistance that will increase the economic conditions of rural communities,” said Valentin.  “These grants allow eligible applicants to provide technical assistance to socially disadvantaged groups in rural areas and in turn, promote job creation and improve their operations.”

  The funding is being provided through the Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grant (SDGG) program. USDA provides grants to local cooperatives and other organizations that provide technical assistance to socially disadvantaged groups in rural areas. Examples of technical assistance include providing leadership training, conducting feasibility studies and developing business and strategic plans.

Recipients eligible for these grants include groups of cooperatives, individual cooperatives and cooperative development centers that serve socially-disadvantaged groups. The cooperatives or development centers can be based in any area, but the groups that receive technical assistance must be located in an eligible rural area. USDA is encouraging applications for projects in census tracts with poverty rates of 20 percent or higher.

USDA is making $3 million in grants available nationwide. The maximum award a recipient may receive is $175,000. All grants are awarded through a national competition. More information on how to apply can be found on page 36254 of the June 6, 2016 Federal Register. Applications must be submitted by August 5, 2016, or electronically by August 1, 2016.

Since 2009, USDA Rural Developme nt (@USDARD) has invested $11 billion to start or expand 103,000 rural businesses; helped 1.1 million rural residents buy homes; funded nearly 7,000 community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care facilities; financed 185,000 miles of electric transmission and distribution lines; and helped bring high-speed Internet access to nearly 6 million rural residents and businesses. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/results.