The Derry and Strabane Rural Partnership are calling on local rural businesses to apply for a share of their latest release of LEADER funding, just days after grants worth over £320,000 were approved for nine local companies.
The Rural Development Programme for Northern Ireland will see a total of £7.54 million allocated in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area over the next four years.
The Rural Business Investment Scheme is one of four strands within the programme and put its first call out in March of this year, leading to the recent approval of three marketing and six capital applications which will create 15.5 new jobs.
Four of the six capital projects are in the Castlederg area with the others located in Campsie and Drumahoe while the three marketing projects, who were in receipt of total grant awards of £16,967 in July, are based near Strabane, Newtownstewart and Eglinton.
Welcoming the announcement, Chair of the Derry and Strabane Rural Partnership, Jim McColgan, urged prospective applicants for the second call to attend a mandatory workshop next month.
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“We were delighted with the response to our first call,” he said. “A key focus of the Rural Business Investment Scheme is job creation and the new positions these grants have facilitated will have a positive knock on effect for the wider local economy. I would urge as many local businesses as possible to sign up for our pre-funding workshops which will be held between 3rd and 6th October in locations covering Derry, Claudy, Bready, Strabane and Castlederg”.
“The funding available is primarily for capital investments but a limited amount of funding is also available for areas such as marketing and feasibility studies.”
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Alderman Hilary McClintock, added that the grant aid represented a crucial helping hand for local rural businesses to realise their potential.
“I’d like to congratulate the successful applicants who can now gain an added competitive edge in what is a challenging economic climate,” she said. “The grants will be invested in crucial infrastructural improvements for the businesses, allowing them to offer improved services and grow their client base, creating further jobs in the future.”
Any company 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 before applying. Local Enterprise Agencies will be attendance at the pre-funding workshops to provide further details of the Regional Start Initiative and business plans. Only businesses who attend the workshops will be eligible to apply for funding and attendees must be a business owner or a director at the company.
For further details and to book a place email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone Hazel Best on 02871 253253 Ext. 6917.