A NEW fund offering £500,000 to support targeted businesses in Cornwall has been launched.
Set up to help create new jobs and increase productivity, the scheme will look to prioritise support for rural micro businesses – employing less than 10 people – and businesses that fall within target sectors such as agri-food (those processing or adding value to primary agricultural, horticultural or forestry products) marine, ICT, manufacturing, tourism, energy and environment.
Applications from businesses in areas not currently eligible for Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) funding will be also be prioritised.
Managed by Cornwall Development Company, as Cornwall Council's economic development arm, it will be delivered in partnership with the Rural Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Partnership Board and Cornwall Rural Community Council. It is part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development 2007-2013, Defra and Cornwall Council.
Stephen Rushworth, Cornwall Council Cabinet member for economy and regeneration, said: "This funding supports vital business development and growth and will enable companies to improve productivity and create jobs despite the tough economic climate."
The funding will support up to 40 per cent of agreed project costs. The minimum investment available is £10,000, which means a total project value of at least £25,000. Grants will be capped at £25,000 except in exceptional circumstances.
Both agri-food and rural micro projects must demonstrate proposals that will result in business development and growth, including job creation, increased efficiency, profitability and benefits to the rural economy.
The scheme is now open and successful applicants must be able to have completed their project and submitted claims by December 31, 2013.
For more information and to access an expression of interest form contact Rural Focus on 08456 047 047.