The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Natural Enterprise have today launched a new £150,000 grant funding programme for the Isle of Wight rural business community.
The Isle of Wight Rural SME Fund is a competitive fund offering grants of between £2,500 and £10,000 to support projects from rural businesses which generate sustainable growth, represent strong value for money, and create or safeguard jobs at Island businesses. Funding can be used to support up to 50% of a projects total cost.
Robert Lovegrove, Chairman of the Isle of Wight Local Action Group, said:
The rural economy is extremely important to the Island and we are delighted to be able to provide this opportunity for businesses to invest in their future.
Solent LEP Chairman Gary Jeffries said:
The Isle of Wight has the largest rural sector in the Solent and we know how critically important these businesses are to the Island's economy. We are delighted to be able to work in partnership with Natural Enterprise and the Isle of Wight Local Action Group in providing this new funding opportunity to local businesses, and we want to work together to build on the success our partners have had in recent years, supporting more than 100 rural projects on the Island through the LEADER programme.
Cllr Jonathan Bacon, Solent LEP Director and Leader of the Isle of Wight Council, said:
We were pleased to be able to work with DEFRA last year to prioritise the Isle of Wight in their European funding programme offering businesses grants of between £10,000 and £35,000, but we know that there are many smaller projects which can make a big contribution to the Island economy. The funding we are announcing today will ensure that those businesses with projects requiring smaller amounts of funding can be supported and I would encourage all businesses operating in our rural economy to look at this opportunity.
The Isle of Wight Rural SME fund is now open for applications until September 2016 and a briefing session for businesses seeking further information on the fund will be held shortly.
Further information on the fund and how to apply is available now at www.naturalenterprise.co.uk
Businesses interested in attending the briefing session on the fund should register their interest now at: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01983 201562