USDA BEST Grant #2

BEST Grant #2 – June 2020 – Sept. 2021

  • Awarded a grand total of $100,000
    • $90,000 of the total was from the federal government 
    • $10,000 of the total was from local funds 

This project expanded access to critical assistance and ECIRPD’s successful implementation of the BEST Program, supported by the USDA’s Rural Business Development Grant program. The project was once again centrally located at the ECIRPD’s headquarters in Muncie but leveraged ECIRPD’s relationships with its rural partner municipalities to offer training, workshops, and other events throughout the identified rural areas in the region. 

The Rural Business Development Grant funds supported contractual needs for trainers and mentors delivering group and individual services to small businesses and entrepreneurs throughout the region. Group technical assistance sessions were administered in the field on a quarterly basis, which enabled individuals and businesses to access instruction provided by BEST personnel. Those engaged in the program used the “Kaufman Fast Track” system to access business assistance training workshops—including best practices guidance on inventory practices, performance evaluations, utilizing social media, and more—over a nine-month period. The project served Blackford, Jay, Delaware, and Randolph counties.