£1m up for grabs for Sheffield City Region rural businesses

£1million is up for grabs in the Sheffield City Region (SCR) for businesses in rural industries to grow and boost the local economy.

Food processors, rural businesses that want to develop, and tourism infrastructure are all eligible to apply for the Growth Fund grants from the Rural Development Programme for England of £35,000 up to £500,000 – but must get an ‘Expression of Interest’ in by Thursday 31 May.

And today businesses were urged to put forward their ideas by the City Region.

Priority projects for the SCR in the food processing sector include ideas for exporting, new techniques and processes, increasing productivity, and creating the equivalent of one full-time job for each £25,000 of grant.

In the business development area, it is also looking for ideas that allow farming ventures to diversify into non-agricultural activities, create new services and / or make new products.

And for tourism infrastructure grants the SCR will prioritise capital investments which create year-round work instead of seasonal jobs, create opportunities for the young and unemployed, bring more visitors to the area, create or develop infrastructure for outdoor activities, and create new or upgrade visitor accommodation.

The grants, which businesses have to put a proportion toward, are applied for on the Rural Development Programme for England website. The website carries clearly written information on applying including the type of grant available, who is eligible, and the Expression of Interest application form.

It says: “The main aim of the grant is to create jobs and growth in the rural economy. Tell us how your project will help do this. Sell us your idea. Explain really clearly what your project does and how it will benefit the economy.

“You have to show that there is real demand for what you want to do, or you’re unlikely to get a grant.”

Neil MacDonald, Chair of the SCR’s Business Growth Board, added: “Enterprise has always been at the heart of what we do in the City Region. For businesses that decide to apply, this funding could be invaluable in helping them grow.”

David Grimes, Head of the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub, said today: “We have hundreds of exciting small rural businesses in this region, and they have lots of talent and fresh ideas. I really would urge any business owner out there to think about applying for a grant if you have an innovation or product that will create growth opportunities.”

For more information on how the Growth Hub can support your business, contact the Gateway team on 03330 00 00 39 or send an enquiry.