Maryland has new funding available to develop technology that assists rural and agricultural businesses with COVID-19 relief.
The Agriculture and Rural Rebuild (ARR) Challenge will be awarding grants of up to $200,000 for tech-powered projects that help rural and agricultural businesses recover from the pandemic and economic downturn. Administered by TEDCO, the state-backed agency that provides early-stage tech funding and support, the challenge is funded through legislation dubbed the RELIEF Act that was recently passed by the Maryland General Assembly and signed by Gov. Larry Hogan.
“The ARR Challenge encourages purposeful collaboration between rural businesses, research institutions and industry partners,” said Dr. Arti Santhanam, executive director of TEDCO’s Maryland Innovation Initiative, in a statement. “Examples of a successful project may include, but is not limited to, the development of an innovative product or a novel application of an existing technology applicable to agriculture or other rural industry sectors.”
Applications are due by April 30.
Federal small business programs get wider
The world may be talking about vaccines and vacations, but businesses are still struggling after a hard year. But COVID-19 relief is still available for small businesses. Last week brought a pair of big updates to federal government programs.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) looks set to be extended for another two months. Originally set to expire at the end of March, the U.S. Senate voted to keep the small business program open through May 31. Now it goes to President Joe Biden’s desk. As a reminder: PPP is allowing businesses that received one of the forgivable loans in 2020 to apply for a second draw in 2021.
The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program has tripled the size of its maximum payouts. Now the program is offering loans of up to $500,000 for 24 months. This comes a month after officials deferred payments on the loans until 2022.
Help a reporter out: Are you applying for either of these programs? Struggling to get a loan? We want to hear how it’s going out there. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us about your experience.
Eat the Change Impact goes bigger
A Bethesda-based grant program founded by social entrepreneurs focused on climate-friendly food is growing its dollars available in 2021.
Eat the Change Impact will have $525,000 available for grants to individuals and groups around the country that are working to promote and expand access to “planet-friendly foods” across the nation, a news release states. The total is a 50% increase from last year, and includes a $25,000 contribution from Flora Plant Butter.
Founded in 2020 by Honest Tea cofounders Julie Farkas and Seth Goldman, the program will award 30 to 50 grants ranging from $10,000 to $25,000.
Applications are due by May 14.
Here are a few reminders about upcoming deadlines from resources we wrote about last week:
- Conscious Venture Lab is accepting applications for a new cohort of social impact-minded startups until April 5.
- The Gula Tech Foundation has a new round of grant funding for nonprofits educating the public on cybersecurity. Applications are open until April 9.
- The Maryland Energy Innovation Accelerator and Mtech Ventures are launching the Climate Tech Pre-Accelerator at University of Maryland College Park in June. Apply to be in the first cohort by April 30.