Farmers and rural businesses are no strangers to grant funding, but this can also transfer to businesses of all sectors. With times of change on the horizon for many industries, it is time to get creative and explore new ideas. This could involve new enterprises, expansions, improvements and lots more. These ideas usually aim to boost profits, secure guaranteed income or limit exposure to sales fluctuations.
There are two grant schemes which are open for business, offering up to 40% grant funding for an impressive range of ideas, enterprises and projects. This funding is not going to be around forever, the grant application needs to be finalised by March 2019 and there is no word yet about any subsequent schemes.
The first scheme is LEADER, for projects that target local priorities set out by their respective areas called Local Action Groups (LAGS). The national aim of this programme is to support micro and small businesses including diversifications, productivity investments, tourism investments, forestry productivity, provision of rural services and cultural & heritage activities. The grant availability ranges from £2,500 to an unofficial maximum of £40,000 but grants of £100,000 have been awarded where very positive outcomes are generated.
The second scheme is called the Growth Programme and has only recently been released. The grant availability differs by area, but ranges from £35,000 to £500,000. In some areas, a higher minimum grant request exists. This has three main priorities; Business Development, Food Processing and Rural Tourism Infrastructure. Business Development focuses on projects that are able to create skilled jobs, introduce new processes or techniques and enable businesses to diversify into other activities. Food Processing welcomes projects that; create or process locally distinctive foods, open new product markets to the business, introduce new techniques and processes, add value to existing supply chains and create higher skilled jobs within the existing business. Rural Tourism Infrastructure priority is given to projects that can increase length of season, number of visitor stays, quality of visitor activities and visitor spend. For example, renovating redundant buildings into holiday cottages.
For an initial discussion about eligibility of an idea or how grant funding may benefit your business please contact Chris Sheldon 01476 514440