A GRANT fund of £1 million has been set up to help small businesses in the rural North East to grow.
Launched by the North East Rural Growth Network, the fund aims to allow new businesses or existing business with less than ten employees to develop new and much-needed jobs.
The money is being provided from the Department for Environmnet, Food and Rural Affairs’ (Defra) Rural Development Programme, in addition to £3.2million already invested by Defra in the North East Rural Growth Network.
The Small Business Growth Fund is seeking to support over 30 micro enterprises during 2013.
Fiona Cruickshank, North East local enterprise partnership board member, said: “The scheme will help equip high quality rural micro-enterprises across the area with the resources to grow and compete. We would encourage applications from any such businesses with ambitious plans for their future”
Rural enterprises will be able to apply for grant funding of between £10,000 and £150,000.
The fund is looking for projects that will boost turnover, create new jobs and open up access to new markets. The project must be a new activity or step change for the business applying. Projects that create jobs and bring wider economic benefits to the local community will be prioritised for grant and guidance and support will also be provided.
The LEP was due to meet last week to discuss rural economic growth as part of the North East Economic Review, led by Lord Adonis. Speakers included Lord Don Curry, chairman of NFU Mutual Insurance, Northumberland farmer and member of the North East economic review team.
To learn more about the Small Business Growth Fund visit http://www.northumberland.gov.uk/ or phone Alison Hesselberth on 01670 623924.