Rural businesses across the country are set to benefit from £35 million in funding to create new jobs, boost tourism, and unlock growth in the countryside.
The government's Growth Programme, which opened for expressions of interest yesterday, provides grants for rural start-ups and businesses.
Firms can use the funds to purchase state-of-art equipment and machinery to grow their business or open up opportunities for tourism.
The scheme has already granted £99 million to 546 local businesses across England, creating 3,771 new jobs in rural areas.
In Sheffield, the farmers behind the brand Our Cow Molly secured a grant of more than £160,000 to invest in a new processing unit, which allowed them to produce higher quality fresh milk and ice cream – creating six new jobs.
The funding could be increased to £50 million if there are enough applications, Defra says.
For this funding round of the Growth programme, the threshold for minimum grants has come down from £35,000 to £20,000, meaning that more small or micro-businesses can be eligible for a grant for their projects.
Members interested in applying can send an Expression of Interest form to the Rural Payments Agency, outlining how the criteria are met for the scheme – from creating new jobs, increasing business turnover, and improving productivity.
If the Rural Payments Agency considers the project to be eligible, the applicant will then be invited to submit a full application. The deadline for all Expressions of Interest is Sunday 16 February 2020.
Information about how to apply can be found by following this link.