The council is providing specialist support to rural businesses and organisations to help them develop applications for a slice of the LEADER money.
The funding is being awarded to projects in parts of Mid- and East Devon, and Somerset.
East Devon's business support provider - Business Boost – is working with rural firms to 'sponsor' them through the grant application process.
Over the next three years, the Making it Local Action Group will oversee the awarding of the funds.
It covers parishes including the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and surrounding gateway market towns.
The action group will act as a panel, made up of private and community sector representatives, to award the grants locally.
Likely recipients include farmers, growers, foresters, other local rural businesses and rural community organisations.
Successful projects will be those deemed to improve the local economy in terms of jobs and growth, as well as improving the quality of life in the area.
East Devon business, Rebel Town Pizza Company, was one of the first to take the initial step in applying for a Making it Local grant.
Owner Ross Clifford wanted to expand his unique wood fired pop-up pizzeria.
A Business Boost adviser was able to help him with his business planning, market research and strategy.
The advisor also assisted with his competitor analysis and financial forecasting.
This confirmed that the business was able to meet the grant priorities around jobs and growth.
Mr Clifford said he believed the involvement of the Business Boost adviser significantly increased his chance of a successful application.
East Devon district councillor Philip Skinner said the local authority had maintained its commitment to supporting small businesses.
"We're really proud to be able to benefit our local rural economies through our funding of this specialist project sponsor support.
"This is helping entrepreneurs like Ross develop successful applications for LEADER funding and supporting local food and drink producers in the process.
For full details, visit the Local Action Group website.