New £8million fund to help grow rural businesses in Northumberland

A new £8million fund has been launched to support the growth of rural businesses in Northumberland and neighbouring areas.

Tuesday, 16th June 2020, 11:46 am
The North of Tyne Rural Business Growth Team. From left, Katy McIntosh, delivery manager; Jonpaul Heron, rural enterprise specialist; Catherine Hancock, support officer; Chris Dawson, rural enterprise specialist; and Chris Walker, rural enterprise specialist. (Photo taken before lockdown)

The North of Tyne Rural Business Growth Service is a £7.896million business support project for micro, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) based in the rural areas of the North of Tyne Combined Authority Area over the next three years.

The main objective is to provide a bespoke, locally accessible, business support and advice service, which will focus on meeting the specialised needs of rural businesses with the development of business growth plans.

At the same time, it will also help aid businesses in their response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund 2014-2020 (ERDF) and the North of Tyne Combined Authority.

The service, which will be delivered by Northumberland County Council and Advance Northumberland – the council-owned company that replaced Arch, has two linked components:

Business advice and support services to support the development of growth plans and guide businesses towards appropriate sources of finance, providing a single point of contact and access to one-to-one specialist advice via a pool of technical advisers;

A capital grant investment fund to support investment in projects that enable rural businesses to expand productive capacity and/or diversify into new markets or products which will lead to job creation.

Council leader Peter Jackson, who is also the North of Tyne cabinet member for place and productivity, said: “As we begin our road to recovery following the coronavirus pandemic, support like this will be crucial for many companies.

“The service will not only provide bespoke business advice and support, it will play a key role in helping rural business grow and diversify and discover new markets – something which could be critical going forward.

“I hope as many of our SMEs as possible take up the offer of support through this programme.”

North of Tyne cabinet member for economic growth, Coun Bruce Pickard, added: “Businesses are the building blocks of our economy and it is exactly this kind of support to them that will be crucial in the region’s recovery from Covid-19.”

Contact the Rural Business Growth Team on 01670 528 400 or email [email protected]

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