The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have made £150,000 of European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) funding available to rural businesses on the Isle of Wight.
Grants are available to help businesses develop and grow and help farms to diversify. Bids of £10,000 - £35,000 are invited from rural Small and Micro businesses that can create new jobs on the Island and applicants can apply for a grant to cover up to 40% of a project’s total cost.
The funding may be provided either to individual businesses or to businesses working together, for example, for groups of businesses seeking investment in shared facilities.
The Isle of Wight has been prioritised by DEFRA for rural funding in the Solent at the request of the Solent LEP. It is expected that EU funding for rural businesses on the mainland will come forward in later calls.
Jonathan Bacon, Solent LEP Director and Leader of the Isle of Wight Council, said:
Our rural economy is critically important to the Isle of Wight, however, it is also vital to the success of the wider Solent area. It is a major employer for our residents, producer of world-class agricultural products, and supports the visitor economy of the Solent by attracting millions of people to the area every year. This is why the LEP has worked closely with DEFRA to prioritise the Island in this first call for rural projects on an exclusive basis.
We have some of the most innovative rural businesses in the world on the Island and I am confident they will take advantage of the opportunity presented by this fund with some ground-breaking growth proposals for DEFRA to support.
The Solent LEP has also secured agreement for the minimum amount of funding to be lowered for businesses applying to this fund under the first round of applications. Elsewhere in the country, businesses will need to apply for a minimum of £35,000.
Anne-Marie Mountifield, Solent LEP Chief Executive, said:
European Funding is absolutely critical to delivering our transformational growth strategy. Small and Medium sized Enterprises are at the heart of this strategy and we know that it can be challenging, particularly for smaller businesses, to raise match funding and apply for EU money. We are delighted that DEFRA have worked with us to make these funds more accessible to local businesses and, for those businesses that are seeking support for amounts under £10,000, we are developing a bespoke local fund for the Isle of Wight rural economy which we hope to launch later this year.
Councillor Shirley Smart, Executive member for economy and tourism at the Isle of Wight Council, said:
Any potential funding that supports local businesses on the Isle of Wight is most welcome. The grants on offer under the EAFRD can make a big difference to small businesses and help them unlock their potential to grow, which in turn supports the local economy by providing jobs and investment.
Businesses seeking funding should apply before the closing date of 30th October 2015.
More information and details on how to apply are available now at:
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