The Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB) announced the availability of over $500,000 in grant funds for the 2016 program year. The application period will open on October 1, 2016, 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.

  1. 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 12 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 1.

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 the Resources for Businesses page.