Stoke Staffs LEP


Staffordshire’s rural businesses are being urged to apply for a share of a £300,000 fund to help them grow. They have until early January 2016 to bid for a grant from the fund.
Funding is available to all new and existing businesses in rural areas that are seeking grant assistance for investments to expand and create new jobs, with the opportunity to receive grants ranging in size from £35,000 up to approximately £140,000. The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) funding is part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme (ESIF).
Rural businesses can apply for a grant to cover up to 40 per cent of their project’s total eligible costs. Schemes will need to demonstrate how they can create a number of new jobs and increase their overall wages, as well as collect and record evidence to show that outputs have been achieved. The new funding is designed to align with the Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s priority of promoting the growth of advanced manufacturing in the region. This includes, for example, helping rural businesses introduce new technologies and equipment, supporting the expansion of their current premises and assisting farm diversification into non-agricultural activities.
Tourism businesses are excluded from applying to this Business Development fund. But there will be a subsequent call for tourism businesses to apply for funding later in the programme.
The 2014-20 ESIF Growth programme launched in March 2015 and this latest round of funding, with £300,000 available to support the development of rural businesses in Staffordshire, will be open until 5pm on 8th January 2016.
David Frost CBE, DL, chairman of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP, commented: “This new funding represents a fantastic opportunity for businesses in rural areas to expand and create jobs, providing a great boost for the local economy and helping rural communities to thrive. I would strongly encourage any interested businesses to seize this opportunity and apply to this call for funding before the January deadline.”
Applicants will be assessed in two stages of the application process, the outline and full application stages. Further details on how to apply for a grant and an outline application form are available from the website.
For more information on the funding available, contact Jo Jury by emailing or by phoning 01905 768854. For further information on ESIF funding visit the website.

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