Worcestershire’s horticultural owners and businesses are being reminded that they have  until 19 June to apply for a share of £300,000 of European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) funding as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme (ESIF).

As of 23 March 2015, up to £300,000 of EAFRD funding was made available to Worcestershire businesses that propose projects which contribute strongly to growth in the horticulture sector, with the opportunity to receive grants from £35,000 up to approximately £100,000.

Applicants must be Worcestershire-based horticulture owners and businesses who are able to demonstrate that their project proposal would not occur without grant funding. Priority will be given to projects which invest in equipment to support growth and accelerate the adoption of new technology to improve productivity in the sector.

All applications must provide 60 per cent of the project cost to receive up to a maximum grant of 40 per cent. Calls for funding will only be open until 19 June 2015 and so interested parties are being reminded to enquire and apply as soon as possible.

The 2014-20 European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Growth programme launched in March 2015 with the key objectives focusing on improving local area priorities, including: research and innovation, supporting small and medium size enterprises, creating a low carbon economy, increasing labour market participation, promoting social inclusion, developing people’s skills, supporting micro and small rural businesses, investing in small scale renewable and broadband investments, and supporting tourism activities.

The ESIF Growth Programme launched its first calls in March 2015 to provide Worcestershire’s businesses with £1.3million in PA1 Innovation funds, £1.75million over the next three years through PA3 SME Competitiveness funds, £1.3million in PA4 Low Carbon funds as well as £300,000 from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

George Eustice, Environment Minister said: “The rural economy is hugely important to this country and we are committed to boosting enterprise across our countryside by encouraging growth, creating jobs and supporting our long term economic plan. It is great news that the RDPE Growth Programme is opening – providing key funding to help rural businesses thrive.”

Gary Woodman, Executive Director of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), added: “Worcestershire LEP is one of five LEPs to utilise EAFRD funding to support new and expanding businesses. We want to see an increase in rural jobs, particularly in higher-paid, more highly-skilled jobs; and in Gross Value Added to the rural economy. We would, therefore, urge interested parties to come forward in this call for funding before the 19 June 2015 deadline.”

For further information on ESIF funding visit the gov.uk website or a direct link is available on the Worcestershire LEP’s website at www.wlep.co.uk for more information on the EAFRD funding contact Jo Jury at jo.jury@rpa.gsi.gov.uk or by phoning 01905 768854.

 

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