Loans & Grants
The Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program provides funding for rural projects through local utility organizations. USDA provides zero-interest loans to local utilities which they, in turn, pass through to local businesses (ultimate recipients) for projects that will create and retain employment in rural areas. The ultimate recipients repay the lending utility directly. The utility is responsible for repayment to USDA.
USDA provides grants to local utility organizations which use the funding to establish revolving loan funds (RLF). Loans are made from the revolving loan funds to projects that will create or retain rural jobs. When the revolving loan fund is terminated, the grant is repaid to USDA.
Who may apply to this program?
To receive funding (which will be forwarded to selected eligible projects) an entity must be:
- A former Rural Utilities Service borrower who borrowed, repaid or pre-paid an insured, direct, or guaranteed loan
- Nonprofit utilities that are eligible to receive assistance from the Rural Development Electric or Telecommunication Programs; or
- Current Rural Development Electric or Telecommunication Programs borrowers
What is an eligible area?
Intermediaries may use funds to lend for projects in rural areas or towns with a population of 50,000 or less.
How much funding is available to intermediaries?
- Up to $300,000 in grants may be requested to establish the RLF
- Up to 10 percent of grant funds may be applied toward operating expenses over the life of the RLF
- Up to $2 million in loans may be requested
The intermediary applies to USDA for funding support on behalf of specified local projects. Projects may begin after an application is submitted, but there is no guarantee of approval.
What are the terms for the intermediary?
- 10 years at 0 percent
- Grants require a 20 percent match from the intermediary
- Grants must be repaid to USDA upon termination of the RLF
How may funds be used?
Program intermediaries pass the funding to ultimate recipients on to eligible projects. Examples of eligible projects include:
- Business incubators
- Community development assistance to nonprofits and public bodies (particularly for job creation or enhancement)
- Facilities and equipment to educate and train rural residents to facilitate economic development
- Facilities and equipment for medical care for rural residents
- Start-up venture costs, including, but not limited to, financing fixed assets such as real estate, buildings, equipment or working capital
- Business expansion
- Technical assistance
For more information on the program visit the USDA site or contact Lane-Scott Electric.