Rural Business Investment Program


Additional Links

Fact Sheet


Applications accepted on an ongoing basis

Sponsoring Organization

USDA Rural Development (USDA RD)


Awards licenses granting newly formed, for-profit entities the right to operate as a Rural Business Investment Company (RBIC) in order to promote rural economic development, spur wealth creation, and increase job opportunities. RBICs are designed to help meet the investment needs in rural areas by making equity capital investments in smaller enterprises that are unable to access capital from other sources. Licenses allow an RBIC to access the Farm Credit System and other banks to capitalize their investment fund, and eligible entities may apply to operate as a leveraged or non-leveraged RBIC. Financial assistance is available to help leverage the fund.

RBIC funds must meet the following investment requirements:

  • At least 75% of investments must be made in rural areas with a population of 50,000 or less
  • Up to 10% of investments can be made in urban areas
  • At least 50% of investments must be in smaller enterprises, defined as having a net worth of $6,000,000 and net income of $2,000,000 in the prior 2 years
  • Up to 50% of investments can be made in small businesses that are roughly 3 times the size of smaller enterprises

Amount of Funding

The program provides eligible applicants with a Rural Business Investment Company (RBIC) license.

Who Can Apply

Eligible applicants include newly formed, for-profit entities or a newly formed subsidiary of a for-profit entity. Organizations may be structured as limited partnerships, limited liability companies, or corporations.

Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Must raise a minimum of $10,000,000 in private equity capital and have at least $500,000 in leverageable capital
  • Must have a qualified management team with relevant experience in community development and venture capital financing
  • Must agree to invest in rural areas and identify the specific rural areas in which it plans to invest

In order to qualify as a rural business concern eligible to receive an RBIC investment, a business must primarily operate in a rural area. Under this funding opportunity, rural areas are defined as any area of a state not in a city or town that has a population of more than 50,000 residents according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data and any area that has been determined to be "rural in character" by USDA Rural Development.

Geographic Coverage


What This Program Funds

Starting a Business

Application Process

Application instructions, requirements, and other information can be found on the program website.

Applicants are encouraged to contact David Chesnick at USDA Rural Development's national program office before beginning an application in order to discuss the program and the application process in further detail.


For planning, application, and servicing questions:
David Chesnick

Topics This Program Addresses

Economic Development • Employment