£9.7M IN GRANT FUNDING AVAILABLE FOR RURAL BUSINESSES
The latest round of grant funding from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) for the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area has been announced, with grant funding totalling £9.7m available to businesses in the food processing, tourism and rural business development sectors.
The RDPE provides funding for projects in England which create jobs and growth in the rural economy.
Applications are being sought for projects that will grow a business, create jobs or bring more money in to the rural economy. Grant funding can help pay for constructing or improving buildings, and buying new equipment and machinery.
Three grant funds are available: Rural Business Development Grants, Rural Tourism Infrastructure Grants and Food Processing Grants.
Rural business development grants will help fund the growth of small rural businesses, new or existing. This includes farmers who want to diversify in to non-agricultural activities.
Rural tourism infrastructure grants will help fund the costs of capital expenditure on tourism infrastructure. The aim is to support projects that will encourage more tourists to come, to stay longer, and to spend more money in rural areas.
Food processing grants will help fund food processing businesses to grow and create jobs. This is for food and drink processing businesses which process agricultural and horticultural products. Examples include meat, milk, grain and root vegetables. Fisheries projects are not eligible.
Colin Bell, Business Growth Director at the North East LEP, said: “The rural economy plays an important part in the region’s overall economic success and we would urge businesses to take this opportunity to access the funding available which will help to grow and develop their business.”
The capital grants, which will be made available from the Rural Payments Agency, will fund up to 40% of a project’s costs with the minimum grant amount being £35,000. This means that a project’s overall cost would need to be over £87,500 to be eligible for the funding. To be eligible for the grants, businesses must be located in the eligible rural areas of County Durham, Northumberland and Gateshead or within the North East Rural Growth Network boundary, (see map).
The North East Local Enterprise Partnership works closely with Government to ensure that the European Funding allocation is aligned to projects that help deliver the North East Strategic Economic Plan. Priority sectors are manufacturing and engineering, pharmaceuticals, food and drink, and knowledge intensive business services and creative businesses.
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