The new Derry and Strabane Rural Partnership, which has been allocated £7.54 million through the Rural Development Programme for Northern Ireland, has opened its first funding scheme – the Rural Business Investment Scheme (RBIS).
This is one of four funding schemes that will be available from 2016 to 2020 with other schemes scheduled to open later in the year.
The Rural Development Programme funding is being administered by Derry City and Strabane District Council on behalf of the Partnership.
The Rural Business Investment Scheme aims to provide primarily capital funding for micro, small and social enterprises, with grants ranging from £500 to £90,000 available for enterprises which are investment ready. Anyone planning to apply for the scheme must attend a pre-funding workshop to determine if they are eligible and ready to apply.
Chair of the Derry and Strabane Rural Partnership, Jim McColgan, said “I am delighted to be launching the new programme and this first funding scheme. A key focus of the Rural Business Investment Scheme is job creation and we are keen to support capital investments in businesses that will result in new jobs and boost the local economy.
“I would really urge businesses to sign up for the workshops to find out more about their eligibility and how the fund can benefit them.
“Funding is primarily for capital investments but a limited level of funding is also available for items such as marketing and feasibility studies. Anyone who is not ready to apply at this stage can avail of forthcoming funding calls, with a second call for the Rural Business Investment Scheme scheduled for later in the year.”
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Elisha McCallion, said that support for small businesses will have a wider impact in rural areas. “The new council district takes in a significant rural expanse and we are working with a wide network of local partners to meet the needs of the rural business community.
“We all know that these are challenging economic times, and it’s particularly difficult for businesses in rural areas who must work harder to overcome additional challenges.
“This funding will provide essential investment in areas that need it most, and hopefully encourage more people to take the next step in starting new ventures which will create jobs as well as enhance services in rural areas.”
Any business hoping to tap into the fund must be at the stage where they have a business plan, match funding, planning permission if needed and quotations/tenders to support project costs.
Local Enterprise Agencies will be in attendance at the pre-funding workshops to provide further details of the Regional Start Initiative and support available for business plans. Only businesses who attend the workshops will be eligible to apply and those attending must be the business owner or a director.
The pre-funding workshops will take place until Wednesday 23rd March in locations covering Claudy, Derry, Bready, Strabane and Castlederg. Further details of dates, times and venues are available atwww.derrystrabane.com/rural
To book a place at a pre-funding workshop or for further information on the Rural Business Investment Scheme, email [email protected] or telephone Hazel Best on 02871 253253 Ext. 6917.Tags: