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Small Business

Development Project

Anchor RBDG

Limestone Bluffs RC&D awarded USDA Rural Economic Development Grant for Small Business Development 


     Limestone Bluffs Resource, Conservation and Development, Inc. will receive $33,000 in federal funding to support small business development in Eastern Iowa. USDA is making the award through the Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) program. 


LB RC&D Offers Free Webinars 

     A series of free webinars will be offered March - June 2021 to help small businesses and communities move forward following pandemic shutdowns:

     * Developing Resilient Communities: The Idea Friendly Method March 9, 6pm 

     * Beating the Online Competition April 13, 6pm

     * Restarting Local Shopping May 11, 6pm

     * Creating Events People Will Attend June 15, 6pm


All of our webinars will be recorded. If you missed one, contact us for the link.

LB RC&D is partnering with Save Your.Town to make these educational events available for business owners and community leaders at no cost. As strong businesses foster strong communities, a limited number of Embedded Community Experiences will also be available as a part of the grant project. Watch our Facebook Page for dates and links.   


     Individual project participants may use the funds to provide technical assistance, training and job-creation activities.  Overall, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue approved the award of nearly $35 million through USDA’s grant program to help support the start-up or expansion of rural small businesses.  Six of the grants totaling $303,935 are being awarded to organizations, including Limestone Bluffs RC&D, serving rural Iowans.

LB RC&D’s Small Business Development Project

          Limestone Bluffs RC&D’s grant funded project will provide technical assistance for business development that will create and/or save jobs in small rural communities and adjacent rural areas in Eastern Iowa.  Participating businesses through this project may benefit from planning activities, market research, access to capital (revolving loan fund) and cooperative marketing. 

“The goal is to create new and strengthen existing additional business ventures through project activities and events so that they may remain successful for years to come,” says LB RC&D Executive Director Lori Scovel.

     To date, seven businesses have participated in LB RC&D's RBDG funded project.

     The small business development project area includes communities with populations of less than 10,000 and rural areas in Cedar, Delaware, Dubuque, Jackson and Jones Counties that are associated with the Limestone Bluffs RC&D region.  Businesses must have 50 or less employees to participate. As this project focuses on rural vitality, businesses located within the City of Dubuque are not eligible for assistance.


     USDA Rural Development’s Rural Business Development Grant Program is one of several that support rural economic development and the funding continues to have a dramatic impact on rural communities across Iowa.  Since 2009, USDA Rural Development has invested more than $3 billion on essential public facilities, small and emerging businesses, water and sewer systems, and housing opportunities for Iowa families.

Revolving Loan Also Available to Small Businesses

     Limestone Bluffs RC&D has established a successful revolving loan fund that continues to be able to provide financial assistance to small rural businesses for formation, expansion, as working capital or for the acquisition of equipment.  In addition to the services available through the RC&D’s new small business development program, over $54,000 is also available to qualifying small businesses through the agency’s revolving loan fund. Staff is able to help small businesses one-on-one to succeed in smaller markets.


Scovel adds, “These funds can revitalize and promote positive economic growth on a local scale and utilization of the lending program can fill a funding gap for new business start-ups.”


Contact Limestone Bluffs RC&D

     Small businesses interested in assistance through this project or in the agency’s revolving loan program are encouraged to contact Limestone Bluffs RC&D with a brief description of their need via email:  Eligible businesses that apply are not guaranteed assistance through RC&D programs, but all will be reviewed for consideration.  Activities associated with the grant-funded program must be completed by June 30, 2021.


     Limestone Bluffs Resource Conservation & Development is a private, tax-exempt non-profit organization that works with people, communities and businesses in support of a thriving rural lifestyle for all.  To learn more contact Lori Scovel, Executive Director, at 563-221-1930.

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