Rural businesses invited to bid for funding

Rural small businesses are being invited to submit an application for the first round of funding in the LEADER programme.

Projects which support micro and small enterprise in rural areas, support farm diversification and support rural tourism are being invited to submit an application for the £1.96m LEADing Rural Business small capital grant funding programme.

Grants are predominantly for capital expenditure including machinery, equipment and construction costs. Up to 40% of the cost can be applied for with a maximum grant of £35,000.

The first call for bids will open on Monday 30 November.

The key objectives of the programme include the growth of the rural economy and the creation of 74 jobs in rural Worcestershire.

Bidding applications are welcomed to:-

Support for micro and small enterprises (including farm diversification) – examples of activity could include construction of new factories/offices and purchase of equipment.

Support for rural tourism – examples of activity could include IT and e-booking systems, supporting equipment purchases for restaurants/cafes which cater to tourists, encouraging new attractions along waterways and cycle routes, and developing more opportunities for young families.

Whilst the programme encourages business expansion schemes of all types, it is particularly interested in applications coming forwards from Worcestershire’s top priority sectors namely Agri-Food Agri-Tech (agriculture, horticulture, forestry), Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering and Cyber Defence and Security.

LEADER is a small rural grants programme, complementing Worcestershire EAFRD programme that helps major rural based projects where calls so far are focused on Horticulture, Tourism and Business Development.

The Worcestershire ‘LEADing Rural Business’ programme is funded through the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) 2014-2020 under the LEADER approach, utilising money from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

For more information and updates on the programme check out

For further information or an application form contact Hollie Kirk, Project Manager – or 07957 632 520.

The closing date will be Monday 1 February 2016.