A £1million grant scheme has been launched today to support farms and other rural businesses to develop and grow through diversification.
The Growth Hub’s Rural Business Grant Scheme can help businesses develop new products and facilities and is targeting tourism and leisure, food and drink and farm businesses looking to diversify income streams.
Online Expressions of Interest open today (Tuesday, January 23) until 5pm on Monday, February 12 and businesses are being urged to submit details of their projects through the Growth Hub website as soon as possible. The funding can support capital investments in areas such as nature recovery; improving the quality of tourism provision; food and drink processing for non-farmer owned businesses, and projects that grow the local social economy.
Louis Gardner, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for economy, said:
“Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is a very special place to live and work, with a wealth of invaluable assets. However, some of our unique characteristics also presents challenges and this funding seeks to help by co-investing in growth activity for rural businesses, which, in turn, will benefit rural communities.”
Grants start from just £2,500 and the types of activity that could be funded include:
- Commercial activity linked to nature recovery such as wild seed harvesting.
- Projects from existing tourism or leisure businesses that will help to extend their season into the shoulder months.
- Capital funding for converting farm buildings to other commercial or business uses.
- Purchase of equipment for food and drink processing businesses that are non-farmer owned.
- Capital grants towards the establishment of rural community businesses.
The scheme is looking to target businesses that have the ambition and capacity to grow, combined with a commitment to deliver improvements in environmental sustainability and social responsibility. Interested organisations must provide a minimum of 50% match funding and demonstrate the capability to cashflow project costs as claims are submitted in arrears.
The Rural Business Grant scheme forms part of the Rural Prosperity Fund for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and is a two-stage process, with Expressions of Interest open now and the strongest projects will be invited to submit a full application. To find out more about the grant scheme and application process, Growth Hub is hosting a Rural Business Grant Webinar at 10am on Wednesday, January 24. Those booked on to the webinar will also receive a recording of the session, even if they are unable to attend.
The deadline for Expressions of Interest is 5pm on Monday 12 February.
The Growth Hub is funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund as part of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Good Growth Programme. The aim of the fund is to realise the potential of businesses in the region and to make the economy more resilient, more equal, and more prosperous.