Deadline looms for Rural Economy Grants

Countryside-based entrepreneurs hoping to secure grants of up to £1m from a Government scheme aimed at boosting rural businesses have been warned that they have just days to submit their initial applications.

The Rural Economy Grant (REG) programme, which is coordinated by Defra, closes for stage one applications on 30 April.

The £60m grant scheme offers applicants up to 40 per cent of the cost of projects in areas such as agri-food, tourism, forestry, and "micro enterprise support".

Meanwhile, those organisations that have already applied for funding are advised to contact their financial advisers to put them on standby to help prepare a full business case for the second stage of the grant application process.

Nigel Parsons, managing director at rural business software specialist Landmark Systems, said: "Businesses need to be thinking about the extra work involved in producing detailed finance plans if selected for stage two."

The second round of REG applications is expected in the autumn.

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