Businesses in rural England are to benefit from a new £60m grant scheme, environment secretary Caroline Spelman has announced.
Grants, which could be worth more than £1m each, will enable entrepreneurs in rural areas to take life-changing opportunities to grow their businesses through the Rural Economy Grant scheme.
Successful applicants will receive up to 40% of the cost of projects in the five business areas of farm competiveness, agri-food, tourism, forestry, and micro enterprise support.
“Businesses in rural England can play a significant part in helping to rebuild the nation's finances,” said Caroline.
“They now have the chance to turn their most ambitious and innovative business plans into a reality, boosting profits, supporting a thriving rural economy and improving the natural environment.
“Our £60m investment will give farmers and rural entrepreneurs life-changing opportunities to transform their business prospects for the long term. It’s part of a £165m package of initiatives to unlock the economic potential of our rural areas, which have been overlooked for too long.”
The Rural Economy Grant scheme will enable businesses to maximise opportunities in the increasing global demand for food. For instance, grants may be available to help companies buy new processing and packing equipment, allowing them to target new markets.
This scheme is part of Defra’s £100m investment in the Rural Development Programme for England, which was announced in the Rural Economy Growth Review last year.