£1.4m Rural Business Grants Available

The Rural Growth Programme for the West of England LEP is now open for applications. This is grant funding for projects which create jobs and growth in the rural economy.

The rural business grants will provide funds for business projects in tourism, food and drink and the land-based and farming sectors. Initially this will run from January 2017 until January 2018 so businesses are encouraged to apply, obtain and invest grants to support their start-up, expansion or growth plans.

Priorities for the West of England area are tourism, the food and drink sector and business development.

The grants are seeking to develop rural tourism to maximise the economic and employment benefits. They are encouraging projects that support businesses to invest in facilities and infrastructure that develop tourism, raise quality and encourage longer stays and higher spend.

The rural tourism sector offers a significant opportunity for growth in developing the all year round destination offer and improving the quality of tourism products. This can benefit the wider economy of rural areas through high spend on rural attractions and accommodation as well as an increase in tourism based enterprises and job opportunities.

Through this Food & Drink grants are seeking to encourage applicants who can innovate within the food and drink sector, strengthen and develop local products, and link with the Weston-super-Mare based Junction 21 Foodworks Programme. The local food credentials are strong with a concentration of sustainable food business in addition to a large number of nationally recognised businesses that use locally sourced produce.

Locally it’s been identified that access to finance (including grants) is a barrier to growth for SME (Small to Medium Sized Enterprises) rural businesses. The call for Business Development funding will seek to address some of the specific issues and will allow diversification of farming businesses into non-agricultural activities, support creation
of new product lines and processes and will support applicants to enter into new markets including new and/or increased export activity.

For more information please download the information handbooks along with the
Expression of Interest Form and guide from; Government Publications RDPE growth programme.

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