£750,000 of European funding (EAFRD) is being made available to small, growing rural businesses across Northamptonshire as part of NEP’s commitment to boosting economic growth and prosperity in the rural sector. Live from today (Tuesday), this is one of two calls for European funding currently being made to local businesses.
Northamptonshire has a significant rural economy base with a very high percentage of micro and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) operating out of the rural areas, making a sizeable contribution to employment and income. NEP, in partnership with business, local authorities, skills and VCS organisations, is tasked with making the £750,000 available to help these businesses, new or established, expand and create new jobs.
Support for the rural economy is one of four key priorities of Northamptonshire’s ESIF strategy which recognises the importance of supporting and growing rural businesses.
The EAFRD funding will deliver individual grants to:
- Micro & small businesses based in rural locations including social enterprises
- People who want to start a business in a rural area
- Farmers or members of the farm household diversifying into non-agricultural activities Up to 18 projects will be funded in the NEP geography. Grants available will range from £35,000 to a maximum of approximately £140,000 (200,000 Euros) and can cover up to 40 per cent of a project’s total costs. Projects must have a total value of at least £87,500 to be eligible for funding.Businesses must be registered with the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) before they can apply for the EAFRD funding. To register online for RPA, visit www.gov.uk/government/organisations/rural-payments-agencyApplications – which must be submitted by 5.00pm on Friday November 27 – will be assessed by government and NEP. Those with the strongest business case will then be asked to make a further, full application for project funding. Further funding opportunitiesNEP will be holding a series of drop in information sessions, hosted by dedicated rural and business advisers, for would-be applicants across Northamptonshire in September and October to give help and guidance on the new EAFRD funding. 13th October – 10.00am-1.00pm- East Northants council offices Additional sessions will be organised soon.www.gov.uk/european-structural-investment-funds/business-support-call-in-northamptonshire-26rd15bs0001
- For more information on how NEP is using European funding to boost the economy and jobs numbers in its areas, visit www.northamptonshireep.co.uk/strategy-documents/esif Full guidance for details of eligibility can be found via the following links:
- 23rd September – 10.00am-1.00pm – South Northants Council offices
- Other funding could also be made available for agricultural and forestry businesses in rural areas, through the European LEADER funding programme, the Countryside Productivity Scheme and Countryside Stewardship. Additional support for businesses, including rural ones, may also be available through other parts of NEPs European Structural Investment Funds (ESIF) allocation – £49m to be spent in the NEP area over the six years to 2020 – of which the EAFRD funding is a part. Funding surgeries
- Once registered with the RPA a business can make an outline application for EAFRD funding online. For more information about the Growth Programme, visit www.gov.uk/government/collections/growth-programme-grants-for-the-rural-economy
- The EAFRD funding will aim to create at least 63 new jobs in the area, boost tourism and visitor numbers, increase the turnover of businesses and increase productivity in the rural economy.
- Projects associated with rural tourism and the food and drink processing sectors will be prioritised. Grants of up to around £140,000