£3m pot to boost rural businesses

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Rural businesses can apply for grants of up to £155,000 after the launch of a £3m scheme covering Sheffield City Region.

The cash is to boost micro and small firms in the countryside in all nine council areas, stretching from Matlock to Thorne.

It will also be available for start-ups and food processing businesses. Grants will also be available to businessses, community groups, councils and charities for tourism projects and renewable energy schemes.

Sheffield chartered surveyor David Miller said: “With agricultural land values now reaching an all time high it is more important than ever landowners maximise every opportunity to create additional income and capital growth by adding and unlocking value. If you have been thinking of a new rural-based venture then strike while the iron is hot.”

The scheme is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. The Rural Payments Agency manages the grants, working with Local Enterprise Partnerships and local partners.

A LEP spokesman said: “Business development is one of the key areas of support for start-ups and existing businesses. Grants received for individual businesses will be to a maximum of about £155,000 in a three-year period.

“It is worth noting that not all of the £3 million available to Sheffield City Region will be ‘live’ immediately - a series of local calls will be launched focusing on specific areas that funding will be used to support. Each of these will detail the specific requirements that must be met to be eligible to apply for funding. All information on the grants will be published on Gov.UK.”

Applications open this month.