SBDC Acquires USDA Funding for Economic Gardening Project

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The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in partnership with UK's College of Agriculture has received a USDA grant in support of Economic Gardening in Kentucky's counties. Economic Gardening is not a training series but rather describes various services bundled into a package. Targeted counties include Bell, Clay, Clinton, Jackson, Knox, McCreary, Rockcastle, Russell, Wayne, and Whitley counties. 

According to EKU SBDC Director Jason Rainey, the grant will provide Economic Gardening services to around twelve Kentucky-owned companies within a proscribed Business-to-Business model. The prospective client must have a minimum of five employees and have been in business at for least five years. Their company must have been profitable two out of the last three years and be owned by individuals who are seeking to grow their business. Minimum annual gross income of $500,000 along with signs of a growth trend are also necessary. This means that revenue and/or the number of employees have been steadily improving three out of the last five years (relative to whether the company has been in business that long).

Rainey said that Economic Gardening works best with businesses that are selling their products and/or services outside of their home location because they are benefiting their local economy by bringing in new dollars.

The Economic Gardening project will provide four main services: market research, use of Global Information Systems to create maps of clients, search engine optimization and social media optimization, and lastly discussion of the client’s core business strategy.

Market Research is done on the industry, competitors, potential customers, trade shows, conferences, etc. Global Information Systems (GIS) are used to create maps of existing and potential customers, competitors, or other demographic variables of relative importance. GIS is also used to create target marketing lists for client prospecting.

Economic Gardening also provides search engine and social media optimization. This includes an analysis of the client company’s web and social media sites with feedback on current strengths and weaknesses. Advice on how to best employ social media and web to generate business is part of the overall analysis. Core business strategy of the client company is discussed and analyzed for potential growth opportunities.

Rainey is available to meet with prospective clients companies for an Economic Gardening informational presentation. He may be contacted by phone at 859-622-1384 or email at

To directly apply to the Economic Gardening program, visit

Published on September 30, 2014