A new funding programme for rural businesses based in England has opened in order to create jobs, boost tourism, and unlock rural growth called the RDPE Growth Programme. This programme, which opened to expressions of interest on the 4 November 2019, provides grants to rural start-ups and businesses to grow, diversify, and ultimately, benefit their local economy.
The threshold for minimum grants is £20,000 and a minimum of 40% of eligible costs may be funded, meaning more small rural business projects are now eligible. Grants of up to £750,000 are available.
Under the RDPE Growth programme, there are grants for:
- Food processing – open to food and drink businesses that process agricultural or horticultural products. Find out more in the RDPE Food processing handbook
- Business development – open to small business and start-ups, including farmers wishing to diversify into non-agricultural activities. Find out more in the RDPE Business Development handbook
- Rural tourism infrastructure – open to a wide range of organisations. If the project is intended to make a profit, only small businesses and farmers who want to diversify can apply. Find out more in the RDPE Rural Tourism Infrastructure handbook
How will this funding be impacted when the UK leaves the EU?
The UK government has guaranteed that funding agreed for any project under this programme by the end of 2020 will be funded for their full lifetime. This will be the case in either a deal or no-deal scenario.
What can the funding be used for?
Grant funding can help pay for constructing or improving buildings or buying new equipment. If being used to increase tourism, it can be used to fund the costs of capital infrastructure.
How to apply
Interested parties need to send an Expression of Interest form to the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), outlining how they will meet the criteria for the scheme i.e. create jobs, grow your business or improve the local economy. Funding will only be offered to applications which are deemed to best meet the purposes of the funding and will provide the best value for taxpayer money.
View RDPE guidance on submitting an Expression of Interest form
Once the completed Expression of Interest form has been received and the project is deemed eligible for funding by the RPA, the applicant will be then asked to submit a full application.
You must submit your Expression of Interest form no later than midnight on the 16 February 2020.
All projects must be finished with grant claims submitted by 30 September 2021.
To find out more about the Rural Development Growth Programme, see the RDPE Growth Programme guidance available on GOV.UK
How ADAS can help you
Our team of experienced farm business consultants have a high success rate in supporting these types of applications and are on hand to help you at every stage of the application process – from initially submitting your Expression of Interest through to your full application.
Once funding has been awarded, we can offer advice and support so your business achieves the goals set out in your application on time and within budget.
To get started, speak to James Dunn our Technical Director for Business Management at email@example.com or call 07920 879094.