A total of £35 million of funding is available to rural businesses within England, helping to support businesses to diversify and grow.
Applicants have until the February 16, 2020 to submit an Expression of Interest.
The RDPE Growth Programme is aimed at farmers and landowners looking to invest in new equipment or constructing/improving buildings.
The Growth Programme aims to deliver funding under three categories:
Food and drink businesses processing agricultural and horticultural products are eligible to apply. Grant funding ranges from £20,000 to £175,000 (€200,000) or 40% of the total eligible project costs.
Larger projects can apply for £750,000 of grant aid but at a reduced rate of 20% of the project costs.
A project example would include processing lower grade fruit into juice. Funding would allow the business to invest in equipment and a new building to process the fruit, creating a new juicing facility.
Additional jobs would be created as an outcome and the business would be adding value to their lower grade fruit.
Funding from £20,000 to £175,000 (€200,000) or 40% of the total eligible project cost is available to help farming businesses to diversify into non-agricultural activities.
Small and Micro businesses can apply. An example would be a business creating an on-farm shop selling local produce which supports local businesses.
Rural Tourism Infrastructure
Projects which involve creating new accommodation such as glamping pods, and converting redundant buildings are eligible for funding on the basis a market need and demand is illustrated in the application.
Creating new visitor attractions and tourist linked projects are also eligible. Funding ranges from £20,000 to £175,000 (€200,000) or 40% of project costs.
Projects that encourage more overnight stays and increase the number of visitors to rural areas will increase their success in securing grant funding.
National and Local Priorities must be achieved when applying for grant funding. Job creation, accessing new markets, boosting the rural economy and achieving wider benefits are all key priorities.
These outputs should be illustrated in an application.
The Growth Programme is a two-stage application process.
1. Expression of Interest (EOI)
The deadline to submit an EOI is 16th February 2020. It is important to justify why funding is required and how the project will achieve both the National and Local Priorities.
2. Full application stage
If successful, the proposed project will be invited to the full application stage. The stage can take between 2-3 months to obtain all the necessary supporting documents.