Rural businesses across Berkshire are being encouraged to apply for a share of more than £720,000 of funding to grow their business. The funding aims to help rural micro, small and new companies develop, grow and create jobs.
Tim Smith, Chief Executive of Thames Valley Berkshire LEP comments, “23% of Berkshire businesses are rural. These business units tend to be smaller than urban units and, when comparing the number of VAT registrations units per head in rural Berkshire with the South East and national averages, the level in Berkshire is high.
“There is also a wide range of business types and sectors, such as agriculture and new technology companies, and as part of our Strategic Economic Plan, we are committed to supporting these companies.
“European funding remains a crucial source of investment in supporting local businesses to achieve their growth ambitions, so if your company is rurally-based and requires funding to develop and grow, this funding could be a significant step towards achieving your plans.”
The Calls for applications from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) Growth Programme are:
- Rural Business Development - This is for non-agricultural activity in Defra-designated rural areas. Funding will be available for capital expenditure on projects which will generate new jobs or help the business grow
- Rural tourism infrastructure - This is for capital investment to develop and grow tourism in rural areas of Berkshire. Activities could include events, attractions, festivals and high-quality accommodation that will encourage more tourists to visit Berkshire
More information can be found here.
EAFRD is part of the Government’s Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Growth Programme. Overall, the RDPE will help protect 2.5 million hectares of farmed land, create 6,750 rural jobs and contribute to the planting of 11 million trees across the country.
Rural Berkshire Facts*
• 17% of all VAT-registered enterprises in Berkshire are located in rural areas
• The level of VAT-registered local units per head of population in rural Berkshire is nearly twice that of urban Berkshire
• A higher proportion of rural businesses in Berkshire are small compared with urban businesses
• The proportion of enterprises employing more than 20 people is higher in rural Berkshire than across rural areas in the South East and in rural England as a whole
* The Rural Economy in Thames Valley Berkshire report produced by ACRE and OCSI using data from ONS, the IDBR and the 2011 Census
 Based on local business units