MONTPELIER —Northeast Kingdom-based organizations were awarded money through the Rural Business Development Grant.

Acting State Director for United States Department of Agriculture - Rural Development (RD) in Vermont, Cheryl Ducharme, announced that funding totaled $1,990,562 in fiscal year 2021. The grants are designed to provide technical assistance and training for small rural businesses with fewer than 50 employees and less than $1 million in gross revenue. These investments are expected to create or save more than 650 jobs in rural Vermont.

“Rural Business Development Grants are powerful investments that support and advance Vermont communities, helping rural small businesses and nonprofits thrive and grow,” Ducharme said. “This funding directly contributes to the health of communities across the state—from Burlington to the Northeast Kingdom, Franklin County to Bennington County. When businesses have success, people have jobs and tourists have places to go, so these investments create better places to live and visit in Vermont.”

The Northeast Kingdom of Vermont (NEK) is recognized as one of five Rural Area Economic Partnership (REAP) zones in the U.S., giving regional businesses there larger funding resources and higher grant values than the rest of the state. The other REAP zones—two each—are located in New York state and North Dakota.

NEK projects benefitting from RBDGs in Vermont include:

− Let’s Grow Kids will use $99,750 to support businesses that meet the child-care needs of families throughout Orleans County, creating or saving 37 jobs.

− NEK Community Broadband received $190,380 to extend 6.7 miles of fiber into the western part of Concord and the town of Waterford, supporting 20 jobs.

− The Northern Community Investment Corporation will have $168,228 to support 50 jobs with technical assistance and training for NEK businesses.

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