Helping Utah’s rural businesses

20190709 GOEDThe Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Office of Rural Development, as directed by the Utah Legislature, announced two new grant programs to serve rural organizations and businesses.

Starting July 1, 2019, qualifying organizations in Utah’s rural communities can apply for the Rural Coworking and Innovation Center Grant and the Rural Rapid Manufacturing Grant programs. These programs were approved in the 2019 Legislative session and will enable rural communities to prosper further.

“These two new programs are both aimed at supporting businesses. Supporting and expanding businesses, while attracting new businesses, contributes to economic development in key ways.  I look forward to working with our communities to use these new tools in the toolbox,” says Ginger Chinn, managing director for Urban and Rural Business Services.

Highlights of the grant programs include:

Rural Rapid Manufacturing Grant

The state allocated $500,000 — a one-time appropriation for this grant, beginning July 1, 2019, and ending June 30, 2020. Developed by Rep. Christine Watkins and Sen. David Hinkins, the grant will assist in the establishment of laboratories designed to train students and employees, build and improve equipment, and offer scholarships within fields related to small-batch rapid manufacturing.

Qualifying activities include:

  • Construction or renovation of laboratories designed to train students and employees in:
    • Clothing production
    • Engineering and computer graphics
    • Manufacturing systems
    • Textile science
  • Building and improvement of equipment to provide training and participation in rapid manufacturing
  •  Training and scholarships for students and employees to participate in rapid manufacturing employment opportunities

Applications will be received July 1 through September 1, 2019, and projects must be completed within 18 months.

Rural Coworking and Innovation Center Grant

This grant program, authored by Rep. Carl Albrecht and Sen. Ralph Okerlund, will assist in creating facilities called Co-working and Innovation Centers that provide individuals working in rural communities with infrastructure and equipment to participate in the online workforce.

The state allocated $500,000 per fiscal year for this program. The Rural Online Working Hubs Grant Advisory Committee, formed under this program, will advise and make recommendations to the Office of Rural Development on grant awards.

Qualifying activities include:

  • Construction or renovation of a Co-working and Innovation Center facility
  • Extending or improving utilities and broadband service connections to a facility
  • Purchasing equipment, furniture and security systems for a facility

To learn more about these programs, visit the Office of Rural Development website.