Connecting, Strengthening and Scaling Food Supply Chains in the Northwest and Rocky Mountain Region

Business Builder Grants Program

The Business Builder Grants Program is a brand-new, regionally-managed funding program designed to support farm and food businesses to strengthen the viability of their businesses and overcome barriers to market access and expansion.

In the Northwest & Rocky Mountain region, Business Builder grants will be integrated with technical assistance offered across the region in collaboration with our four thematic focus areas. Please reach out to your state contact to learn about technical assistance opportunities. If you are a native farm or food producer and would like to work with Tahoma Peak Solutions, please reach out to them.

Business Builder grants will launch in late spring 2024 and run until 2027.

To receive updates about the program

For now, here are some basics to help you decide if a Business Builder grant may be an opportunity for your farm or food business:

Eligible entities:

  • Small- and mid-scale farm, ranch, fish/seafood, and value-added food businesses producing in, sourcing from, and focused on local and regional markets
  • Food processors, aggregators, and distributors that source locally and/or serve multiple small- and mid-scale food and farm businesses.

Priorities include
but are not limited to:

  • Underinvested businesses and geographic areas
  • Farm businesses making value-added products out of what they produce and/or source from nearby producers in their region
  • Food businesses sourcing/trying to increase the ingredients they source locally
  • Businesses and projects with a focus on fair and ethical labor practices, community benefit, and/or environmental sustainability with clearly defined outcomes related to those benefits

Eligible projects include
but are not limited to:

  • Business planning, feasibility studies, writing grants and loan applications
  • Value chain coordination
  • Developing your brand and marketing materials, including websites
  • Market analysis, brokering services, and outreach to potential customers
  • Attending and developing marketing materials and supplies for trade shows focused on local or regional markets
  • Developing new products, labels, or packaging, including pilots to trial new formulations or recipes
  • Crop planning to match production with your market strategy
  • Improving processing, marketing, and distribution for your products
  • Legal support for business resilience, market risk management, and growth
  • Food safety training, planning, compliance for owners and/or employees
  • Worker safety improvements: training staff, purchasing safety equipment
  • Creating or expanding a farm stand, U-Pick, CSA, or other farm-direct sales platform

Grant funds can be spent on costs like:

  • Hiring outside business services and expertise you need for your project: could be consultants, could be mentors with businesses like yours. (Note that USDA generally caps rates at $65/hour, with some exceptions.)
  • Paying current staff to work on the project beyond roles they normally hold with the operation
  • Supplies for the project.
  • Equipment for the project – purchase or lease. For example:
  • Internet and computer access, software, other information technology platforms/investments
  • Incubator and commissary kitchen equipment and dry/cold storage capacity
  • Cold storage: walk in, reach in refrigerators, freezers
  • Delivery vehicles - purchase or lease
  • Packaging and labeling equipment

What Business Builder grants can't fund:

  • Projects related to on-farm production
  • Projects related to meat and poultry slaughter and initial processing(Value-added products beyond boxed meat, such as pemmican, jerkies, stews, and ready-to-eat meals are allowable.)
  • Purchase of land or buildings
  • Construction costs (with some exceptions, for example installing allowable equipment such as coolers)

Grant basics:

  • Maximum grant size: $50,000
  • No match or cost-share are required
  • Reporting requirements: requirements may vary and depend on the size and complexity of the project. We’ll keep it as simple and straightforward as we can
  • Payments: we recognize that reimbursement grants – you pay first, send us receipts, and we pay you – are a hardship for many small businesses. When needed, we will make up-front payments, so you can make the purchase and then send us documentation.

Business Builder Grants not open yet but coming soon

Click on your state to find your state contact

Scroll to Top