National Growth Programme Launched

GRCC bring you news of a national growth programme for rural businesses which has an initial national funding pot of £35 million.

The grant from the European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and was announced by the Government on the 1st of November. There will be three themes for grant requests. These will be Business Development, Rural Tourism and Food Processing. The programme is now in a period of Expressions of Interest (EOI) until the 16th February 2020.

The initial funding available is £35m but could be increased to £50m in a potential second round. The initial EOI window will close on 16th February 2020.

In summary:

The minimum grant request has been set at £20k (which means the total eligible project cost must be a minimum of £50k. This has been reduced from £85k to enable small business employing fewer than 50 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) and micro businesses employing fewer than 10 FTE to apply).  Businesses employing over 50 FTE will not be eligible. 

As mentioned, there will be three themes; Business Development; Rural Tourism and Food Processing. The maximum grant for rural food processing businesses is £750,000 – for all other rural businesses the maximum is £175,000.

European Structural and Investment Fund Committees (ESIF) for each Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) will approve EOI’s based on their Strategic Targeting Statement which defines local priorities.  Decisions on Full Applications are expected in June; August and October 2020. All projects must be completed and claims submitted by September 2021

The funding is from a national pot. There is no local allocation so projects will compete nationally.


The RDPE Growth Programme handbook contains information on which projects are deemed eligible for a grant, how to apply and Gloucestershire priorities is available from:

Free workshops for rural based businesses in Gloucestershire interested in applying for a Growth Programme grant will be held on:

·         Tuesday 3rd December, 2pm to 4.30pm - Rooms 8A & 8B, The Growth Hub, Oxstalls Campus, Gloucester, GL29HW and

·         Thursday 5th December, 2pm to 4.30pm - Farm 491, The Alliston Centre (RAU), Stroud Road, Cirencester, GL7 6JS

The workshops will be delivered by representatives from the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), who will be processing all the applications. Potential applicants will find out about the grants available, how it works, and what they have to do next.

As well as the presentations, there will be time for a general question and answer session and they will have a chance to discuss their project ideas with staff from the RPA, who will help them to decide if this could be right for them.

If you want any help or advice then get in touch with us.