Thursday, 06 August 2015 07:50

'Millions available' for rural business

Written by  Ruralcity Media
'Millions available' for rural business

MILLIONS of pounds are available to help small rural businesses reach their full potential, says the government.

For the first time, it says, European Regional Development funds are targeted at Local Enterprise Partnership areas in a major shift to more localised spending.

Local firms will benefit from £2.6bn funding that will help create jobs and boost skills, says the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Accessing the money will be locally-led, with Local Enterprise Partnerships and other local partners playing a key role in shaping how funding is allocated and invested.

Local organisations working with small firms will now be able to apply for a share of funding from the latest round of the European Regional Development Fund.

The funding will support innovation, boost businesses and create jobs across local economies and bring economic benefits to the wider area that will be felt beyond the area's boundaries.

Local growth minister James Wharton said: "This funding will give the places a chance to contribute more to the national economy and unlock local potential.

"We want local partners to come forward with how they want to use this money to drive forward their economy.

"As part of our long-term economic plan this money will provide a big boost to businesses and help create numerous jobs locally that will also benefit people living in towns and villages."

Around the country, some £5bn is being made available from the 2014 to 2020 round of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF).

The new programme is built from the local priorities of England's 39 Local Enterprise Partnership areas. All funding decisions will be taken within this framework.

The main priorities of the ERDF programme are research and innovation, supporting and promoting small to medium sized enterprises and the creation of a low carbon economy.

Calls for projects are now live on the GOV.UK website.

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