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Grants scheme for rural businesses opens

Small businesses and start-ups in Wiltshire can now apply for the government’s Rural Economy Grant scheme

Rural Economy Grants were launched by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to enable a significant ‘game-changing’, transformational performance in farm, forestry, tourism, agri-food businesses and micro businesses in rural areas in England.

And Swindon and Wiltshire is one of five regions in the UK selected as a Rural Growth Network Area, meaning help is available to establish micro-businesses too.

Rural Economy Grants can support up to 40 percent of an investment project.  Grants range from £10,000 up to around £170,000.

Applicants must have 10 or fewer employees, and must be based in Wiltshire or rural Swindon. 

The scheme is open to all qualifying people and businesses in the area, but targeted at retiring or redundant military personnel and service personnel dependents and women coming into business.

The grant can be for start-up costs – rent, staff, equipment – market research, kit, premises improvements, studies, marketing support, product development and branding.

Grants are also available for expansion and growth in first few years of operations  but a project must be for an investment and not for running costs.

The fund is administered by Wiltshire Council, and business support managers at Wessex Chambers have been charged with guiding applicants through the process.

For further details, call Wessex Chambers on 01225 355553.