Blogs - 23 October 2015

Rural Business Development Funding Boost

The D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (D2N2 LEP) is one of the largest LEP’s in England covering an area with a population of over 2 million people with an economic output of £36 billion. More than a third of the D2N2 area’s total of 880,000-plus jobs are in rural areas so supporting rural businesses is a key priority for the D2N2 Growth Hub.

Over the past month, we have travelled throughout the rural heartlands of the area from South Derbyshire to North Nottinghamshire working with our local partners to deliver five events to promote the £933,000 available in grants from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) Growth Programme from DEFRA  (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). The Rural Payments Agency (RPA)  manages the grants, working withD2N2 LEP. 

The deadline for applications for this round of Growth Programme: grants for the rural economy is the 27th November.

In addition to EAFRD, DEFRA announced on 14th October  that rural communities across the UK will have access to £138 million to create more jobs and boost the rural economy through the LEADER programme.

Below, you will find answers to some frequently asked questions distilled from the DEFRA website which relate to EAFRD only, plus contacts for the LEADER programme in your area. You can also call the D2N2 Growth Hub helpline on 0333 006 9178 for guidance.

EAFRD Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I know if my business is in a rural area?

The areas are defined by DEFRA and it is essential that you check your post code is in an eligible area, this will be the postcode where the project is to be located. There is a map available here, however to be more certain, please send your post code  and we can check it for you. We can also advise you by email whether you are in a LEADER area as these do not entirely match areas eligible for EAFRD.

Q: Is this grant only for farming businesses?

No. The funding aims to help projects which create jobs and help rural economy growth.

Applicants can be:

  • a micro or small-sized business – check the size of a business
  • a micro or small-sized social enterprise or,
  • a farmer wanting to diversify into non-agricultural activities

Q: What size of project should I submit?

Growth Programme grants from EAFRD will normally be above £35,000. Applicants can usually apply for a grant to cover up to 40% of the project’s eligible costs. The minimum eligible cost of the project would, therefore, be £87,500. Grants will be to a maximum of £140,000. You may also be interested in finding out more about the LEADER programmes which also offer smaller grants (see the Leader contacts below).

Applicants may not qualify for some grants if they have received more than €200,000 of funding in the past 3 years.

Q: What type of organisation is eligible to apply?

There are some restrictions for example, the following cannot apply:

  • non-departmental public bodies or Crown bodies
  • members of Producer Organisations under the Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Aid Scheme who have had (or can get) a grant for the same project under that scheme

For further advice on eligibilty please contact the Rural Payments helpline: 03000 200 301 Email: 

Q: What costs are eligible?

The following costs are eligible for funding:

  • building or improving fixed property
  • new equipment and machinery and
  • architects, engineer or consultant fees for the project – (as long as these don’t add up to more than 15% of the project’s total eligible costs)

The following costs are also eligible, as long as they only form part of the project being funded:

  • buying or developing a dedicated piece of computer software – but not an off-the shelf piece of business software (like Microsoft Office)
  • patents, licences, copyrights or trademarks, and
  • energy-saving and resource efficiency equipment

Q: How do I apply?

The application process for EAFRD is a two stage process.

Applicants need to register for rural payments  before they can apply.

Stage one which closes on the 27th November requires an outline application form (see link below). On the form, applicants will need to give the following information:

  • the location of the proposed project
  • what the project will do and how this will be done
  • who’ll benefit from it (for example, how it will help the business to grow and create jobs, or what difference the project will make to the rural economy)
  • how it will benefit other businesses, including suppliers
  • how much it will cost
  • why a grant is needed to fund it and
  • how much funding is requested, when, and what the money will be spent on

Applicants need to provide enough information to clearly explain the project, but supporting documents are not needed at this stage.

Applicants must send the completed form to  by the 27th November. Applicants will an automated email from RPA to confirm that they’ve received the application.

How long does assessment take?

RPA assesses all stage one applications, which may take up to 40 working days. Advice from D2N2 LEP about how well the applications fit their local strategies may then take a further month.

If your outline application is endorsed, RPA will ask you to submit a full application. Note that being invited to submit a full application is not a guarantee of grant funding. Being invited to submit a full application doesn’t mean you can start a project or incur costs.

Q: Which applications will be most successful?

This is a competitive process, only the highest scoring applications will be successful.The total grant funding available for this call is £933,000. Funding will be offered to a maximum of 26 projects.

RPA check outline applications are eligible, then score and rank them against other applications. They assess each project on:

  • how it fits with the objectives of the Growth Programme and the criteria in the relevant ‘call for applications’
  • how it fits the relevant LEP’s local strategy for the use of EAFRD funds (check the ‘call for applications’ which will explain where to find these strategies)
  • how the project will grow the business and the number of jobs it will create
  • the market need for the project and the demand that has been identified
  • value for money – how much funding the applicant is requesting compared to how much the business will grow and the number of jobs it will create
  • whether the project is deliverable; if the project is not judged to be deliverable it will be rejected at this stage
  • what environmental sustainability measures will be taken and
  • that the project has taken equality and diversity into account

D2N2 LEP will assess whether the application meets their priorities also, which are spelt out in the call specification

‘Business Support: call in Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire (08RD15BS0001)’ which you should download and read. 

This call seeks to invest in rural businesses that want to grow and create new jobs , especially jobs with higher than the average pay and skills for the D2N2 area. The call encourages applications from businesses seeking to invest in innovative technologies and processes.

Applications from businesses in the following eight key sectors are a priority for this call.

  • manufacturing of transport -related equipment
  • life sciences
  • food and drink manufacturing
  • construction
  • transport and logistics
  • visitor economy (tourism)
  • creative industries
  • low carbon goods and services

Q: Can I submit more than one application?

You can submit more than one application to EAFRD providing these are for different projects.

Q: Can I apply for both EAFRD and LEADER?

There is nothing to prevent you applying for both, however if successful, you are unlikely to receive both awards unless for different projects (you must provide 100% funding for the project up front but it would not be possible to ‘match fund’ a project with funding from another grant – you must find 60% from your own resources or commercial sources and 100% up front).

Q: How can D2N2 and the D2N2 Growth Hub help us with our application?

We can advise you by telephone and in some areas (subject to demand) arrange for a Business Adviser to visit and guide you, however the information required will come from your own project and business plan and you will need to complete the application form.

Useful links


Growth programme: Application form and guidance 

Call specification 


Peak District Leader (Derbyshire Dales, High Peak) . email:  Bolsover & North East Derbyshire Leader . email: 

South Notts Leader – email:  North Notts Leader -email : 

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