Fund title: Rural Development Programme for England: Growth Programme
Focus of fund/fund aims:
Funding for small rural businesses for capital investment in food processing, rural tourism infrastructure and business development.
Expressions of Interest by 16 February 2020
THE UK GOVERNMENT HAS GUARANTEED THAT ANY RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME PROJECTS WHERE FUNDING HAS BEEN AGREED BEFORE THE END OF 2020 WILL BE FUNDED FOR THEIR FULL LIFETIME. THIS APPLIES IN BOTH A NEGOTIATED AND A NO-DEAL SCENARIO.
There are opportunities for rural businesses to access EU funding to help them to grow and innovate: grants are available through the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) for food processing, rural tourism infrastructure and business development.
The funding is intended for projects that create jobs and help businesses to grow, innovate and reach new markets. The grants are for capital projects: constructing and improving buildings; and buying new equipment and machinery. The grant can cover up to 40% of eligible costs – the remainder needs to be private-sector ‘match funding’ eg. savings, bank loan. The minimum grant is £20,000.
Food processing – for food and drink businesses that process agricultural and horticultural products in rural or urban areas. Any size business can apply but priority will be given to medium, small and micro businesses.
Rural tourism infrastructure – for capital investments in new or enhanced rural tourism assets and infrastructure to encourage tourist spend in the rural economy. If the project is commercial and intended to make a profit, only small businesses and farmers who want to diversify can apply. If the project is not expected to make a profit, a wide range of organisations can apply, including businesses, farmers, groups representing rural communities, charities and public bodies: for non-profit projects, grants can cover up to 100% of costs.
Business development – to support the development of small and micro rural businesses (including social enterprises) and farmers diversifying into non-agricultural activities. The focus is on increasing business productivity, creating higher-skilled jobs, innovating and reaching new markets, particularly export markets.
Details of how to apply for funding under each of the three themes can be found in the handbooks available on the RDPE website. There are also some local priorities for the funding so applicants should refer to the annexes for information about the Heart of the South West LEP priorities.
The deadline for Expressions of Interest is 16 February 2020. The final date by which all projects must be finished, paid for and complete grant claims submitted, is 30 September 2021.