The Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB) plans to award a total of $180,000 in COVID-19 Response Business Development Grants within the sectors of agriculture and forestry.
These funds are designed to complement businesses' ability to maintain operations while increasing capacity to rebuild and/or recover during this unprecedented time of need.
KEY DATES AND DEADLINES -
- Request for Applications Release: May 15th, 2020
- Application Opens for Submission: May 21st, 2020
- Application Deadline: May 31st, 2020 at 11:59 PM (application closes at midnight)
- Award Notification: June 15th, 2020
- Estimated Project Start: June 25th, 2020
AWARD RANGE AND MATCH REQUIREMENT -
Grants will be awarded within the range of $5,000 to $25,000.
Match is not a requirement for this particular funding opportunity, though match of cash or in-kind is encouraged, and applications with match will be more competitive.
ELIGIBLE PROJECTS -
Applying organizations must have experienced, and be able to clearly demonstrate, negative business impacts due to COVID-19.
Eligible proposals will focus on business response, shifting marketing strategies, or other activities that may improve business recovery. Project activities eligible for funding include:
- Market development: developing marketing plans and/or sales strategies, accessing new markets and securing new customers, brand development including website design or upgrades, institutional and wholesale market expansion, costs associated with achieving humane and/or organic certification
- Value-added production: transitioning to operation as a new processor or expansion as an existing processor; transitioning to new pack-size/labeling or enhancing production and/or manufacturing efficiencies
- Research and development: testing new systems or technologies; developing innovative solutions to production or management issues including accounting, tracking, and/or sales software, (e.g., E-Commerce, Home Delivery or Curbside Pick-up)
- Operations logistics: workplace modifications to meet worker safety protocols regulations for working lands enterprises compliance, addressing labor force and public health in response to the pandemic
- Growth strategy: new or expansion of current efforts, expanding consumer outreach and/or expansion of existing marketing strategy, established multi-year marketing plan and growth strategy of the industry represented, with intent to sell goods out of Vermont.