The Rural Business Development Grant is a United States Department of Agriculture competitive grant designed to support technical assistance, training and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging businesses, in rural areas. First Southwest Community Fund can submit applications on behalf of small businesses to acquire needed technical assistance that will enable them to grow their business, encouraging economic vitality in rural Colorado.
Who is eligible?
Small businesses (less than 50 employees and $1 million in gross revenues) in rural Colorado. Businesses or projects must benefit rural areas or towns outside the urbanized periphery of any city with a population of 50,000 or more.
What can you use the grant for?
Grants can be used for the following purposes:
- Technical assistance – examples include:
- marketing plans
- feasibility studies
- financial and business plan development
- strategic plan development
- professional/technical reports
- product/service improvements
- engineering plans
- Training – examples include:
- business counseling/training
- financial and accounting training
- leadership and entrepreneur training
This Award only covers Technical Assistance. It cannot be used for product development, software or prototyping. The Technical Assistance must be completed by a third party (e.g., Marketing Firm, Financial Training Organization).
If you have other ideas for what you would like to use the grant for, please reach out!
How much are the grants?
Grant requests can be made for up to $30,000.
How do I apply?
Applications for 2021 are now closed. Applications for 2022 will reopen December 2021.
Previous RBDG Grant Recipients
In 2019, First Southwest Community Fund successfully received a $25,000 grant for Stagecoach Organics – an egg producing facility headquartered in Saguache County – to complete a feasibility study. The feasibility study aims to bring egg packaging capabilities to the San Luis Valley, creating more local jobs and enlivening the already rich local agricultural economy.
Colorado Quinoa Grant
In 2018, First Southwest Community Fund (FSWCF) received a Rural Business Development Grant for Colorado Quinoa, a unique business that sources its quinoa from a collective of small, organic and conventional quinoa farmers throughout the San Luis Valley.
Side by Side Grant
In 2017, First Southwest Community Fund was successful in receiving a $30,000 technical assistance grant to help a promising dog nutrition company, Side by Side, create a marketing plan to help enable them to grow beyond their local markets and become a player on the national stage.