Growth Programme: grants for the rural economy

Find out what grants are available for rural businesses from the Growth Programme and how to apply.

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This page is an old page about grants which are now closed for applications.

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This guidance explains what the Growth Programme is, what grants are available, who can apply for a grant, what they must do if their application is successful.

What is the Growth Programme?

The Growth Programme provides funding to help projects in England which create jobs and help rural economy growth. These grants are funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) manages the grants, working with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).

‘Calls for applications’

The RPA will publish calls for applications. These calls invite applications for grants in specific LEP areas. Each call will reflect the priorities set by the LEP and will clearly state:

  • what types of grants are open for applications
  • the opening and closing dates and times for applications

Applications received after the closing date and time will not be accepted.

Available grants

Grants are available for:

  • business development
  • food processing
  • small-scale tourism infrastructure
  • tourism cooperation

Available grants in each area and who can apply for them are listed in the table below. Different grants will be available at different times.

Grants Who can apply
Business development Micro and small businesses in a rural area, including social enterprises. Farmers wanting to diversify into non-agricultural activities
Food processing Micro, small and medium-sized food-processing businesses processing Annex 1 products (examples include meat, milk, grain and root vegetables)
Small scale tourism infrastructure Rural businesses and rural communities, farmers and land owners
Tourism cooperation Businesses in a rural area. Charities, public bodies, community groups and destination organisations operating in a rural area

How RPA decide which grants are available and where

There are 39 LEP areas in England and 37 of these areas have EAFRD funding.

LEPs give their recommendations to RPA who then decide which grants to make available in their area based on their local priorities. These are published in LEPs’ European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) strategies.

The ESIF strategies show how Growth Programme funds will be used to help businesses grow and create jobs in local areas. The types of project that can get funding will vary depending on the LEP’s strategy for that area.

Each ‘call for applications’ will explain where to find the relevant LEP’s ESIF strategy. Click here to find your nearest LEP.

Published 22 March 2015
Last updated 27 July 2015 + show all updates
  1. Updated to show new aspects of the scheme available from the end of July.

  2. Added reminder of the 19 June deadline for intial calls.

  3. First published.