£35m funding to boost ‘rural’ UK startups and entrepreneurs

Thanks to new government funding, rural UK businesses could potentially benefit from £35m to create new jobs, boost tourism, and unlock growth in the UK’s less populated areas.

The government has said that the funding could be increased to £50m, providing there is enough interest and applications.

This government Growth Programme opens for expressions of interest tomorrow (November 4). Grants may be provided for rural startups and businesses, helping them to purchase state-of-art equipment and machinery.

Today, the scheme has already granted £99m to 546 local businesses across England and created 3,771 new jobs in more rural areas.

One example of a business who secured a grant of over £160k is Sheffield’s ‘Our Cow Molly’. The grant will allow the company to purchase a new processing unit, creating six new jobs and allowing them to produce higher quality fresh milk and ice cream.

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.”

Applicants for the funding can apply up until February 16, 2020, with the minimum grant currently standing at £20k.

Paul Caldwell, chief executive of the Rural Payments Agency, concluded: “The Growth programme provides funding to the 98 per cent 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 benefitted 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.”