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Funding news - 08/02/2017

£120 Million RDPE Growth Programme Launched to Boost Business in Rural Areas of England

The Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Growth Programme has been established to support projects that invest in building businesses, creating new jobs and growing the economy in rural areas of England.

Funding is being provided through three national calls for projects, which have been developed in collaboration with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and which are open to support food processing, business development and tourism infrastructure projects for an initial one-year period.

Grants are generally provided at a minimum level of £35,000; however, this will vary in some LEP areas. The amount which can be applied for depends on the size of the applicant’s business and where it is located.

Grants can be used to help rural businesses grow and create more jobs. Grant funding can help pay for constructing or improving buildings and buying new equipment and machinery. The following costs are also eligible, if they form part of a larger project being funded:

  • Architects, engineer or consultant fees.
  • Buying or developing a dedicated piece of computer software.
  • Patents, licences, copyrights or trademarks
  • Energy-saving and resource efficiency equipment

Businesses that are carrying out projects to boost employment or bring more money into the rural economy in their LEP area of England may be eligible to apply.

For business development projects, small and micro rural businesses, both new and existing will qualify. This includes farmers who want to diversify into non-agricultural activities. Food and drink businesses that process agricultural and horticultural products may apply for the food processing strand. Projects that are commercial in nature and intended to make a profit may apply for the rural tourism infrastructure aspect of the scheme.

RPA Rural Development Director Alison Webster said:

"This is excellent news for small and micro-businesses, particularly the food and drink and tourism sectors, which play a major role in the economy of rural areas.

We are looking to support high quality, high impact investments and we encourage small rural businesses to grasp this opportunity to think big.”

The deadline for Expressions of Interest is midnight on 31 January 2018.

See the GOV.UK website to access more information and the Expression of Interest form.

Source: Rural Payments Agency, 07/02/2017

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