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European funding to fast track rural growth

3 March 2017

Businesses across the South East Midlands have been given the chance to apply for a slice of £5million of European funding made available to help fast-track their growth plans.

The money is likely to be the last round of funding available through the current system before Brexit, with businesses encouraged to ‘use it before you lose it’.

The Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Growth Programme supports projects that invest in building businesses, creating new jobs and growing the economy in rural areas.

Locally, the calls have been developed in collaboration with the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) and will be open to support food processing, business development and tourism infrastructure projects across the private, public and voluntary sectors for an initial 12-month period. 

More than 100 businesses attended an information event held at Towcester Racecourse on Friday, March 3 to learn more about the funding. 

Jane Roemer from SEMLEP, which organised the event, said: “This new Growth Programme will give rural businesses in the South East Midlands the opportunity to apply for vital funding which will help them to create new jobs and invest in the technology and infrastructure they need to grow.”

The session, held in partnership with Voluntary Impact Northamptonshire, featured presentations from Roger Allonby from the RDPE and Lisa King from the LEADER programme, alongside case studies from local businesses such as The Old Piggery B&B in Bedfordshire.

Delegates also heard from Mee Farmers, a company which has diversified thanks to European funding to grow blueberries and supply leading supermarkets such as Waitrose and Marks & Spencer.

A series of workshops and one-to-one surgeries were also held to give more information about business development, food processing, tourism infrastructure and the LEADER programme.


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