Government Support for Rural Businesses
In August, Matt Hancock, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, announced an ambitious new goal designed to get more small businesses working on central government contracts: By 2020, £1 out of every £3 the government spends will be on small businesses.
But, that is just the beginning - in the last several months, the government has offered several new opportunities to support small and rural businesses. If you own a small or rural business, consider applying for these four grants and programmes:
- EIP-Agri grants boost productivity in the farming and forestry sectors. Grants between £5,000 and £150,000 can be awarded each year for up to three years for projects that encourage new techniques and aid sustainability. For more information, visit www.gov.uk/government/publications/apply-for-the-eip-agri-grant.
- Growth Programme funding helps encourage growth for rural businesses. Funds can be used for regional festivals, visitor farms, food processing facilities or shops. Grants of up to £35,000 will be awarded to the projects that will be the most beneficial to their areas. For more information, visit www.gov.uk/government/collections/growth-programme-grants-for-the-rural-economy.
- The Broadband Connection Voucher scheme provides SMEs with high-speed broadband Internet which could help businesses increase productivity, expand into new markets, strengthen customer relations and improve cyber security. Grants of up to £3,000 will be given to cover the cost of installation. For more information, visit www.connectionvouchers.co.uk.
- Enterprise Zones help develop various industries, create jobs and attract satellite university centres. Businesses based within these zones can expect discounted business rates, enhanced tax relief and superfast broadband. To see if your business is located in an enterprise zone, visit www.enterprisezones.communities.gov.uk/enterprise-zone-finder.