The Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB) is pleased to announce the availability of over $500,000 in grant funds for the 2016 program year. The application period will open on October 1, 2015, with grants targeting essential, catalytic investments in Vermont’s farm and forest economy. Grants will be available to Vermont agriculture and forest sector businesses, as well as service providers that provide the critical technical assistance needed for business growth.
The two investment areas are as follows:
1. Business Investments
Projects may include, but are not limited to: Infrastructure (project-specific planning, permitting, and/or engineering/architectural plans; and/or building and equipment costs); Marketing (accessing new markets and securing new customers); Research and Development (testing new systems or technologies or developing innovative solutions). Projects focused on scaling up to meet new market opportunities are encouraged. Working capital is an eligible use of funds.
2. Service Provider Investments
Projects should show direct impacts on Vermont Working Lands businesses. Types of technical assistance provided may include: Scaling up; Market development, marketing plans, and sales; Business and financial planning; Succession planning; Access to capital; Manufacturing efficiencies or process flow
Applicant Information Sessions will be scheduled for the week of October 12th and will be held as webinars with several opportunities to attend in person. The dates, times, and locations of these sessions will be announced on October 1st.
A change to this year’s process will be that all Business Investment applicants selected to submit a full application will be required to include a business plan. Applicants are encouraged to visit our Resources for Businesses page.
The WLEB began operations in August 2012 and to date has awarded over $3 million in grant funds to 110 grantees, leveraging an additional $4.3 million of matching and outside funds. The WLEB looks forward to continuing this impressive track record in Fiscal Year 2016.
The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative, (Act 142), is administered by the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets in partnership with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation and the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development. The Working Lands funds are administered by the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB), an impact investment organization whose mission is to grow the economies, cultures, and communities of Vermont’s working landscape by making essential, catalytic investments in critical leverage points of the Vermont farm and forest economy, from individual enterprises to industry sectors.
About the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets: VAAFM facilitates, supports and encourages the growth and viability of agriculture in Vermont while protecting the working landscape, human health, animal health, plant health, consumers and the environment. www.Agriculture.Vermont.Gov