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    The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications to support economic development and create jobs in rural America. The Rural Business Development Grant program is for eligible entities to support business opportunity and enterprise projects in rural communities. It is designed to provide technical assistance and training for small rural businesses (fewer than 50 new workers and less than $1M in gross revenue). Check USDA’s eligibility maps for your community’s rural status.

    The funding may be used to establish business support centers or to finance job training and leadership development in rural areas. Projects must be consistent with any local and area-wide community and economic development strategic plans, support other economic development activities in the project area, and be consisted with any Rural Development state strategic plan. The NEGRC maintains a regional Comprehensive Economic Development Plan, available here: https://negrc.org/planning-government-services/community-economic-development; to learn more about statewide rural initiatives, visit: https://www.georgia.org/rural-georgia-initiatives. Funding for enterprise projects must be used to finance or develop small and emerging businesses in rural areas.

    Applications must be submitted to the nearest USDA office by 4:30 pm local time on March 31, 2021. For additional information, see page 8610 of the February 4, 2021 Federal Register. To request assistance, contact Eva Kennedy, NEGRC Director of Planning & Government Services.

    Northeast Georgia USDA Contacts:

    Area Two (Barrow, Clarke, Elbert, Greene, Jackson, Madison, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Oglethorpe, and Walton counties) | Contact: Monroe Office: Kathy Forster (770) 267-1413 x114

    Area Three (Jasper County) | Contact: Fort Valley Office: Stephanie Freeman (470) 291-3074

    Rural Business Development Grant Fact Sheet