The government of British Columbia is committed to partnering with their rural communities to strengthen economic opportunities and create great jobs, while enriching the beauty that rural B.C. has to offer. To support these efforts, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development is about to open its sixth intake of the BC Rural Dividend Fund. Now in its fourth year, the program is allocating $25 million to help rural B.C. communities to strengthen and diversify their local economies.
Via the multiple streams of the program, applicants may receive 60-100% of eligible project expenses to a maximum $10,000-$500,000.
To apply for funding for rural communities, applicants must submit their application through an online portal, together with mandatory supporting documents. The next intake opens on Saturday, June 15, 2019 and will close on Thursday, August 15, 2019.
What is the BC Rural Dividend Fund?
The BC Rural Dividend Fund was developed to address the unique challenges that rural communities are faced with in order to differentiate themselves beyond their natural resources and recognize the influence rural communities provide to B.C.’s economy.
The program serves to:
- Allow rural communities to execute their visions for continued prosperity and be able to prepare and respond to economic disruptions;
- Increase the capacity of small and remote B.C. communities to address unique challenges in realizing their economic potential;
- Pursue innovative economic opportunities that support climate mitigation and/or adaptation for a cleaner future; and
- Support Indigenous establishments and communities to progress and lead traditional and/or evolving economic opportunities, including in the natural resource sector.
There are three streams of funding available, in which applicants may be eligible to receive 60-100% of project expenses to a maximum $10,000-$500,000 in funding for rural communities.
The program accepts applications during defined intake periods – the next one is from June 15, 2019 to August 15, 2019. Applicants are typically notified of a funding decision within four months of application. Projects must be completed within two years from their start date.
Applicant Eligibility: BC Rural Dividend Fund
To qualify for the BC Rural Dividend Fund, applicants must:
- Be a British Columbia-based municipal government or regional district (population of 25,000 or less, located outside Metro Vancouver and the Capital Regional District);
- Be a non-profit organization; or
- Be an Indigenous community or organization.
Eligible Projects: BC Rural Dividend Fund
The BC Rural Dividend Fund offers B.C. government funding for projects that help rural communities handle changes that impact their economies – such as enhancements to environmental and social conditions, attracting and retaining youth, driving economic growth with innovation, and creating new and worthwhile partnerships to support shared prosperity. Projects considered for funding typically align with one of four focus areas, including:
Projects under this category offer opportunities for training and skills development and/or help guarantee growth in the local workforce by attracting, retaining, and training workers.
Examples: Educational needs assessments, resident attraction plans/projects, skills development and training programs, and entrepreneur and business development initiatives.
Community Capacity Building
Projects under this category build the capabilities, resources, and capacities of communities to manage their economic challenges, and/or present or improve a community’s potential services to support economic diversity, enhance quality of life to attract investment, and expand market accessibility.
Examples: Capital investment strategies, feasibility studies, and business plans.
Business Sector Development
Projects under this category will help communities aim to support business retention, growth, expansion, or the creation of new businesses within the community.
Examples: Succession planning, marketing strategies, business plans, incubation projects, market studies, and pilots for new enterprises.
Community and Economic Development
Projects under this category provide strategies to support diversification or growth, economic development, and resilience, and/or help rural B.C. communities build a foundation for economic development or growth or improve community vibrancy.
Examples: Tourism master plans, destination trail projects, community economic development projects, economic development plans and strategies, and agricultural development plans.
BC Rural Dividend Fund: Three Funding Streams
There are three streams of B.C. government funding in the Rural Dividend Fund where applicants may access grants. Project costs must be direct and essential to the development and implementation of the project. These include:
The Project Development stream supports communities with limited capacity to undertake preliminary work (e.g. feasibility assessments and business cases) to develop strong future projects.
Eligible applicants can apply for up to 100% of total project costs to a maximum of $10,000 in funding.
The Single Applicant stream supports the implementation of community-driven projects.
Eligible applicants can apply for up to 80% of the total project cost to maximum of $100,000 in funding.
The Partnerships stream supports the implementation of community-driven projects.
Eligible applicants can apply for up to 60% of the total project cost to a maximum of $500,000 in funding.
How to Apply for the BC Rural Dividend Fund
Applications for the BC Rural Dividend Fund are to be submitted through the dedicated online portal. All program communication will take place with the primary contact using the contact information provided in the application.
Each application must include the mandatory supporting documents: financial statements, budget forms, council/organization resolution, articles of incorporation, and partnership letters (for Partnerships stream only).
The sixth application intake period will open on June 15, 2019 with a deadline of midnight PDT on August 15, 2019. This is the only application intake period for 2019-2020.
Applicants are limited to one project development application and one project application (single or partnership). Applicants who received funding during previous intakes are able to apply again during this upcoming intake.
To discuss your business’ eligibility for government funding and discover how to optimize the application process, please contact Mentor Works.