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About this Grant Programme
This grant programme has been set up to develop micro and small businesses (fewer than 50 FTE staff or less than 10 million euros turnover). Grants will be provided to both existing and start up businesses with the aim of supporting a growing rural economy. Local rural businesses support the rural economy by maintaining and creating jobs, growing local supply chains and bringing investment into the area. Vibrant local communities rely on high quality and diverse local services and business. The objective of this fund is to support a diverse business base to support a local community.
Grants are available for between £2,500 and £100,000. 60% match funding required. Nb in exceptional circumstances, match funding could be reduced for non-profit making operations such as social enterprises or community ventures.
Examples of the types of projects we could fund include;
- Starting a new business
- Construction costs or establishment/improvement costs for workshops, factories, premises and facilities
- Marketing costs (but not hard copy material)
- Purchasing equipment (not consumables)
- Expanding a business
- Social service provision
- Processing and marketing of agricultural products (80% match funding required).
- Developing craft and handicraft activities
- Setting up an IT business
- Intangible investments e.g. acquisition or development of computer software
- Acquisition of patents, licences, copyrights, trademarks
- Setting up a food or drinks business
- Leisure, recreational and sport activities
- General costs such as architect, engineer and consultants fees up to a maximum of 15% of total project costs.
Outcomes we expect you to achieve
Below is a list of the sort of outcomes we would hope to see projects achieve. Projects are not expected to deliver on all outcomes, this list provides a form of guidance to applicants. It sets out what makes a project more desirable. A project may only deliver on one outcome, but that may be to such a degree that it outweighs the need to deliver on others. For example, one project may create many jobs, but deliver no further outcomes. Please bear in mind that LEADER is a grant programme that aims to boost the rural economy, therefore job creation and growth are of significant importance. If this is not a direct benefit to the applicant, it should be a benefit to other businesses and the wider rural economy.
- Additional direct employment created
- Increased GVA (gross value added)/profits
- Beneficial collaboration with other businesses
- Will your business make use of local suppliers?
- Will your business make use of local services, e.g local shop, post office, village hall etc
- Apprenticeship or work placement schemes
- Local sponsorship schemes
- Reduction to waste
- Improved energy/water use
- Involvement with the local community
- Beneficial impacts on sustainable travel
When you Need to Apply
We hold Decision Making Panels continually. However, in order for your project to be assessed at any given panel, you must submit your full project application and any supporting documents no less than 10 weeks prior to achieving a decision from us. Should you be successful, you will then be able to start your project once you have heard from us and we have sent you your grant funding agreement. This usually takes between 1 and 4 weeks from the date of the Decision Making Panel.
For further information and a list of Decision Making Panel dates, please refer to the timescales section of this website.
Am I Eligible?
Part 1 – You must be able to answer YES to all of the following questions:-
- Am I an existing micro or small enterprise (fewer than 50 FTE staff or less than 10 million euros turnover), a social enterprise, or do I want to start a new business?
- Am I looking for capital funding only (revenue funding may be available for one-off set up costs for community or not for profit projects)?
- Am I able to match fund the project with 60% of my own funds (in kind or other public body contributions are not permitted)?
- Is your application larger than £2,500 (not including 60% match funding)?
- Will I be able to continue with the project objectives, including maintaining ownership and use of any items purchased for a period of at least 5 years after claiming the grant?
- Will my project add value by creating jobs and/or growth within my business?
- Can I demonstrate a proven market for my proposals?
- Will the project benefit the local rural community?
- Will the project be beneficial to other rural businesses?
- Is my project environmentally sustainable?
- Can I cash flow the project 100%? You must make all purchases before receiving the grant. You will receive payment after receipts have been submitted with your claim (claims may take up to 8 weeks to process).
- Are you able to provide 3 years accounts, or for new businesses a financial forecast (if grant requested is under £35k you only need 2 years accounts)?
- If I am a tenant, will I have at least 5 years minimum term remaining on the tenancy agreement from the point of claiming the grant?
- Is your project start date at least 4 months from the date you will send us the full application or is it flexible?
- Will your project be completed within 12 months of receiving a contract grant offer from us?
- If purchasing second-hand equipment, can I prove this was not previously purchased using public funds in the last 7 years and has at least 5 useful life remaining?
- If applicable, are all consents, permissions and licences in place e.g. planning permission?
Part 2 – You must be able to answer NO to all the following questions. Is your application for:-
- A business, or linked business that has collectively received up to a maximum of 200,000 euros in government funding in the last 3 years?
- A linked business that collectively would not meet the micro/small business definition?
- A project that comprises routine repairs or maintenance of premises or equipment?
- Like for like replacements?
- Hard copy marketing material?
- Ongoing staff or running costs (including salaries of permanent or fixed term staff)?
- Any costs you incur when putting together your application – including consents such as planning permission, agent’s fees?
- Any items that you already get EU or national funding for?
- Day to day running costs of your premises (for example utility bills, council tax, rent or insurance)?
- Contingency costs?
- Land or building projects where the ownership or lease is not yet in place?
- Loans, fines or interest payments?
- Costs connected with a leasing contract, such as lessor’s margin, interest refinancing costs, overheads and insurance charges?
- Purchase of equipment that will not be legally owned by you, the applicant, at the time of claiming the grant?
- Moveable fittings such as soft furnishing, beds, tables, chairs, curtains, television and audio equipment, crockery, cutlery, small kitchen equipment (e.g toasters, kettles, food mixers etc).
- Activities that will happen or start before we confirm our grant?
- Items that are purchased on behalf of another business/organisation?
- A project or activity that the state, or your own business, has a legal obligation to provide, or is a standard industry obligation?
- Projects that you cannot maintain due to high ongoing costs, or projects that are not sustainable long-term?
- VAT that you can recover?
- Own labour?
- Ongoing licence fees, subscriptions and service charges?
- Feasibility studies?
- Improvements to your primary/main residential dwelling unit?
- Standard computer and mobile equipment?
- Costs for renewable heat and energy systems covered by the renewable heat incentive (RHI) or Feed-In Tariffs (FITs)?
- A project that will displace economic activity undertaken by other businesses?
Fit with Local and National Priorities
This grant programme fits within the Loddon and Test Local Priority 2: Enabling and supporting new and existing rural enterprises and SMEs while benefitting the rural economy and rural community (please see page 18 of the Local Development Strategy for further information on this).
It fits the Rural Development Programme National Priority 2: Support for micro and small enterprises and farm diversification.
LEADER Programme Measures
All projects will need to show which programme measure they fit into. For this grant programme, there is only one measure that could fit.
- Measure 6.4 – Support for Investments on creation and development of non-agricultural activities.
Many people find it helpful to look at the sorts of projects we have funded in the past. For a list of projects we funded under this grant programme, please follow the link below. You can then see some examples of successful projects.
Send a Project Enquiry
Sending a Project Enquiry will enable us to give you feedback before you embark on the application process. It does not count towards the scoring of applications, but will mean we can give you advice which may help when you come to apply. Click here to fill out our online Project Enquiry Form.
Submit an Expression of Interest
If you have already chatted to us or you don’t feel you need initial guidance, you can go straight to Stage 2 and complete the Expression of Interest form without the need to submit a Project Enquiry form. Guidance is provided on this website which takes you through the steps on how to complete the Expression of Interest as well as the downloadable form for you to complete. The form must be saved to your computer and then emailed to us. Please click here to start your Expression of Interest.