The West Northamptonshire Rural Business Grant is a new programme that offers financial support to micro and small businesses, and some medium-sized enterprises, situated in rural areas. This includes endeavours related to diversifying farm businesses.
About the West Northamptonshire Rural Business Grant
The West Northamptonshire Rural Business Grant is a capital grants programme for rural businesses funded through the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) by Defra.
It follows on from the EU-funded LEADER Programme and Growth Programme, both of which were part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE).
Just over £820,000 has been allocated for the business grant programme to help West Northamptonshire’s rural businesses with capital building costs and equipment.
The funding is delivered by Ngage Solutions in partnership with West Northamptonshire Council. Ngage will be supporting businesses through the application process.
What is the aim of the programme?
To create opportunities for businesses to start, grow, and increase employment opportunities.
This will be achieved through small-scale investment in SMEs in rural areas*, including capital funding for net zero infrastructure for rural businesses, and diversification of farm businesses (non-agriculture), to encourage start-up, expansion or scale-up of these businesses where this involves converting farm buildings into other commercial or business uses.
What kinds of projects can be funded?
Typical projects eligible for funding include, but are not limited to:
- Farm diversification
- Tourism initiatives
- Food and drink processing
- Other rural enterprises
Eligibility Guidelines for the West Northamptonshire Rural Business Grant
Check that your business meets the criteria before you apply:
- Businesses applying must be micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (1 to 250 employees with a turnover of less than €50 million).
- Projects need to be new and cannot have started already (no retrospective funding).
- Projects will need to be within an eligible geographic area*
New or established businesses can apply.
*What counts as a rural area?
For the purposes of this fund, rural areas are defined as:
- Towns, villages and hamlets (and the wider countryside) with populations below 10,000
- Market or ‘hub towns’ with populations of up to 30,000 that serve their surrounding rural areas as centres of employment and in providing service
- Individual grant amounts will be from £2,500 to £100,000.
- Grants will initially be offered at 50% of the total eligible project value.
- Projects will need to be approved before expenditure can be incurred.
- Projects will need to be completed, having evidenced all spend and claimed once awarded - by March 2025.
Apply for funding
You will need to submit an expression of interest outlining the details of your project. This will be reviewed and, if the project is eligible, you will be invited to complete a full application.
There has been a significant level of interest in the West Northants Rural Business Grant. The EOI form will remain open; however, the current allocation is likely to be committed in the first half of 2024. As ever, we advise you to remain in contact with the team when progressing a Full Application to stay up to date.
Do you need any help with an application for a West Northamptonshire Rural Business Grant?
Contact Will Dallimore, Rural Business Development Manager at Ngage Solutions, to talk through potential projects, and the application process, and to ask any questions you have about the West Northamptonshire Rural Business Grant.
Call 01494 927167 / 07802 411040 or email William.Dallimore@ngagesolutions.co.uk
This support is part-funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.