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Rural Enterprise Programme

European Regional Development Fund Rural Enterprise Programme 

**Please note: Grant applications for Rural Enterprise Programme are now closed**

What is the Rural Enterprise Programme?

The Programme in outline

Rural Enterprise Programme grants are available to help businesses across Staffordshire and areas of Stoke-on-Trent to develop under-utilised commercial premises or construct new workspaces. 

The minimum amount of grant available is £10,000, and can be used towards the cost of building improvement works, helping to increase productivity and create new job opportunities.

The Programme operates across both urban and rural areas of Staffordshire and some rural areas of Stoke on Trent.

The total project fund is around £5 million and the Programme runs until the end of June 2019.

  • Capital grants of a minimum of £10,000 are available, or up to 40% of the total eligible costs of the project, whichever is the lowest.
  • Grant awards are discretionary and will be at the minimum required to enable the project to proceed.
  • SME must be able to provide a minimum of 60% as match funding.
  • No advance payments can be made. Payments can be released when key stages of the project have been completed.
  • Applications must be made and approved before work starts. 

What types of projects can be funded?   

  • Eligible end uses will include (non-speculative) manufacturing, creative industries or service businesses and office premises. Grants are not available for retail, agriculture or tourism end uses. The end use cannot be residential.
  • Applications are particularly welcomed from SMEs operating in the Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership priority sectors, including advanced manufacturing. (*Advanced manufacturing activities includes energy generation, auto-aero, medical technologies, agri-tech and applied materials). 

What costs are eligible? 

Grants can be used towards the reconfiguration, extension, renovation or construction of commercial business premises including internal and external structural works which lead to increased commercial floor space and creates new jobs.

Funds are not available for property purchase, internal fixtures and fittings or excessive landscaping. 

Successful applicants will need to demonstrate an increase in jobs created as a direct result of the grant.  

Who can apply? 

There are a number of criteria that businesses will need to meet in order to be considered for the grant: 

  • Eligible businesses should be SME’s – i.e. must employ less than 250 people and have a turnover less than €50m and/or a balance sheet total not exceeding €43m.
  • Eligible SME’s will include sole traders (self-employed), partnerships, limited companies, community interest groups, and companies limited by guarantee. Not-for-profit businesses, co-operatives, social enterprises and charities are also welcome to apply, providing they have a trading arm that fits within one of these legal definitions.
  • Applicants can be owner-occupiers, owners proposing to lease premises for eligible uses, or tenants who have a fixed-term lease with at least 5 years unexpired and written consent for the proposed works from the landlord.
  • The business is seeking a capital grant of £10,000 to £65,000 or 40% of total eligible costs whichever is the lower.
  • The business is able to provide a minimum of 60% as match funding.
  • To be eligible as a business or linked business, you must not have collectively received up to the maximum of €200,000 in government funding in the last 3 years (De Minimis Regulations).
  • Eligible businesses will be operating predominately on a Business to Business basis

Is my project within the Rural Enterprise Programme area - Online Mapping

If you'd like to check whether you are within the eligible area for the Rural Enterprise Programme, please use our online mapping. 

How do I apply? 

First contact the Rural Enterprise Programme Team to discuss your proposal.

The Rural Enterprise Team will advise on whether or not your project could be eligible for funding. You will be asked to complete a Stage 1 Expression of Interest Form, and if the details of your project meet the initial criteria and priorities of the Programme, you will be invited to complete a Stage 2 Full Application.    

You may also find it useful to contact the Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub, who will provide business advice at no cost. The Growth Hub is able to provide diagnostic support and business improvement advice to SMEs wanting to apply to the Rural Enterprise Programme.

The funding assessment criteria can be found here   


Rural Enterprise Programme Team

2 Staffordshire Place
Tipping Street
ST16 2DH 

Telephone: 01785 277400
Email: REP@staffordshire.gov.uk 

Hilary Foxley – Rural Enterprise Programme Manager

Julie Hall – Rural Enterprise Programme Support Officer 

Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub can be contacted on: Tel: 0300 111 8002. 

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