Rural businesses in The Marches are being invited to apply for up to at least £175,000 in EU grant funding for projects which help grow the regional economy and create new jobs.
Grants, funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), start at a minimum of £20,000 and applicants can apply for up to 40 per cent of eligible costs. The maximum grant for business development and tourism projects will be limited to £175,000, whilst the maximum grant for food processing projects will be limited to £750,000.
The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership is particularly encouraging applications from farming businesses that want to diversify into non-agricultural activities and environmental and land based rural businesses wishing to expand but expressions of interest for a grant must be registered by February 16, 2020.
Gary Spence, Marches EU Technical Assistance Officer, said: "Grant funding can help pay for constructing or improving buildings or buying new machinery or equipment. However only companies employing fewer than 50 people can apply under the rural business and tourism themes, although any size of business can apply under the food processing theme, subject to meeting other criteria.
"Projects need to demonstrate evidence of a sound business case and that they are good value for taxpayers’ money by creating jobs off the back of the grant investment. We would advise organisations considering an expression of interest to read the guidance carefully before applying and discuss their ideas with their local Growth Hub officers."
Applications are in two stages and organisations must first submit an Expressions of Interest (EOI) form. If successful at this stage, organisations will be invited to formally apply. EOI forms must be received by February 16, 2020. Funding bids must be submitted by May 31.