The BNED LEADER Approach is now open for business and invites projects to apply for funding

The BNED LEADER Local Action Group (LAG) has been awarded €1,713,000 of European Agricultural Fund For Rural Development (EAFRD) through the Rural Development Programme for England for the funding of rural projects in the local area. This represents a Sterling equivalent of approximately £1,370,000 (this figure may alter in line with Euro exchange rates).

Funding will still be available until such time as the UK exits the European Union.

Support for Micro and Small BusinessesFunds under this priority will be used to provide grants for:

  • developing or starting rural micro and small businesses (these are businesses employing less than 50 workers with a turnover of less than €20m - approximately £15m)
  • farm diversification projects (farm businesses expanding into non-farming activities)

The Area contains a high proportion of micro and small businesses which are the backbone of the rural economy. Of the 8,380 businesses in the BNED area, 7,491 are small/micro enterprises. The majority of these businesses are very small with 0 - 4 employees.

The rural area also contains a relatively small but growing number of community/social enterprises, again with the majority having very few employees. There is real potential to build on the enterprising nature of communities in the area using LEADER funding to support both new initiatives and to help develop and grow exisitng operations.

Eligible Activities

The objective of the LAG is to stimulate new micro-enterprise development and enable the growth of micro/small enterprises with particular emphasis on businesses and sectors with growth potential. Included within the eligible activities for the 2014-2020 rural development programme are;

  • Start-up costs - particularly those businesses that offer future growth potential
  • Developing the food and drink sector including the supply chain and encouraging greater exporting
  • Developing the creative/cultural and digital/higher technology industries evidencing growth potential
  • Developing micro/small businesses manufacturing themselves and within the sector supply chain

Who can apply for grant funding?

Business people & entrepreneurs (either unemployed people, new businesses, or existing businesses employing less than 50 people) in all business sectors, but particularly the following: tourism, accommodation, visitor attractions and food & drink.

Support will also be available for members of farming businesses who are looking to diversify into non-agricultural activities.

Eligible Costs may include:

  • Business start-up aid
  • Construction, establishment or expansion of workshops, factories, premises and facilities
  • Purchase of equipment - not consumables
  • Processing and marketing of products

How much grant funding can you apply for?

The LAG has determined within the Local Development Strategy that 50% of project funding will be allocated to this priority. This equates to €702,329.

The maximum amount you can apply for is 40% of the overall project costs up to a maximum amount of €200,000 (approximately £150,000). The remaining 60% must be private match which means you cannot use other public funding, such as Lottery funding and other European funding.


Depending on the level of grant requested, we will expect eligible grant recipients to achieve some of the following:

  • Number of Micro-enterprises supported/created - 24
  • Employment created - 44