Rural business in England are set to benefit from a £35m government investment to create new jobs, boost tourism and allow growth potential in rural areas.

This number could go up to £50m depending on the number of high-quality applications.

The government’s Growth Programme provides grants of up to £750,000 for start-ups and businesses in rural areas to obtain cutting edge equipment and machinery to allow for full business potential to be met.

The scheme, which opens on Monday 4 November, has already granted £99m to 546 local business and created 3,771 new rural jobs across England.

Farming Minister George Eustice said:

“Our dedicated fund for rural businesses has created more than 3,700 jobs and supported a diverse group of businesses, tourism operations and start-ups to unlock their full potential.”

“This next round of funding will help more businesses to grow and local areas to prosper – and I would urge any rural enterprise to look into what this scheme could do for them.”

“I would also encourage farmers to consider how they might use this funding to branch out and diversify their businesses, making the most of emerging trends and tastes and looking ahead to new opportunities.”

This round of funding of the Growth Programme has reduced the threshold for the minimum grants from £35,000 to £20,000, making it possible for more small or micro-businesses to be eligible for a grant.

The RDPE Growth Programme handbook is available on the government website and outlines which projects are eligible and how to apply for a grant.

Companies wishing to apply must send an Expression of Interest form to the Rural Payments Agency, explaining how they meet the aforementioned criteria of creating new jobs, increasing business turnover and improving productivity.

If interested parties pass initial considerations, they will be invited to submit a full application. The deadline for all Expressions of Interest in Sunday 16 February 2020.

Paul Caldwell, Chief Executive of the Rural Payments Agency, said:

“The Growth Programme provides funding to the 98% of the rural economy in England that isn’t directly engaged in farming. From heritage railways to creameries and vineyards, small and micro-businesses have benefited from the investment available under the Growth Programme in recent years.”

“We are looking to support applications from businesses with ambitious plans to grow their business and provide wider benefits to their local community.”