Rural Business Development Grant Program

  • Mary Warren,
  • Business Programs Director
  • USDA Rural Development
  • 2118 W. Park Court, Suite A,
  • Champaign, IL 61821
  • Phone: 217-403-6218
  • Fax: 855-832-8691
  • Email:
  • Website Link:

Purpose of the Program

The Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) is a competitive grant designed to support targeted technical assistance, training, and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging private businesses in rural areas that have fewer than 50 employees and less than $1 million in gross revenues. Programmatic activities are separated into enterprise or opportunity type grant activities.

Who is Eligible

Rural public entities including, but not limited to:

  • Towns
  • Communities
  • State agencies
  • Authorities
  • Nonprofit corporations
  • Institutions of higher education
  • Federally-recognized tribes
  • Rural cooperatives (if organized as a private nonprofit corporation)

Eligible grant applicants are public bodies and nonprofit corporations serving rural areas. Beneficiaries are generally any private business that will employ 50 or fewer new employees, has less than $1 million in projected revenue.

What is an eligible area?

Rural Business Development Grant money must be used for projects that benefit rural areas or towns outside the urbanized periphery of any city with a population of 50,000 or more. Learn more about eligible areas here.

Application Process

Guidelines are available at

Availability of Funds

There is no maximum grant amount; however, smaller requests are given higher priority. There is no cost sharing requirement. Opportunity grants are limited to up to 10 percent of the total Rural Business Development Grant annual funding.

How Funds Must be Used

Enterprise grants must be used on projects to benefit small and emerging businesses in rural areas as specified in the grant application. Uses may include:

  • Training and technical assistance, such as project planning, business counseling and training, market research, feasibility studies, professional or/technical reports or producer service improvements
  • Acquisition or development of land, easements, or rights of way; construction, conversion, renovation of buildings; plants, machinery, equipment, access for streets and roads; parking areas and utilities
  • Community economic development
  • Technology-based economic development
  • Feasibility studies and business plans
  • Leadership and entrepreneur training

Types of Assistance

Grants and Technical Assistance

Year Program was established