Toggle menu

Call for Expression of Interest - Rural business support grant


The Council is able to provide a small number of capital grants, funded through the UK Rural England Prosperity Fund.

The Rural Business Support Grant can provide a flexible subsidy to help your organisation to grow, improve resilience or extend its reach/impact. It is available to any micro, small or medium-sized business located in rural areas as defined by postcode which therefore broadly excludes Great Yarmouth and Gorleston and can include community businesses, co-operatives and social enterprises.

The grant can not be used for projects which have received other funding from DEFRA including The Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme (FIPL), The Farming Investment Fund (FIF) and The Platinum Jubilee Village Hall Improvement Grant Fund.

Expressions of interest are invited for capital grants from a minimum of £10,000 up to a maximum of 50% of eligible project costs or £20,000, whichever is lower. Projects must be capable of being delivered and grants claimed by 29 February 2024.

These capital grants can support three themes. The examples given are not exhaustive but may help applicants bring the right projects forward for consideration:

1. Investment in micro and small enterprises in rural areas such as:

  • infrastructure to help businesses achieve net zero
  • diversification of farms businesses outside agriculture including conversion of existing buildings into commercial or other business use
  • specialist food production creating jobs to align local production to emerging consumer demand
  • projects creating higher skilled jobs
  • development of new markets to shorten supply chains

Examples could include opening new kennels or liveries, purchasing more efficient packaging machinery, modernising or creating a development kitchen.

2. Growing the social economy and supporting innovation, such as:

  • projects that support the uptake of new technologies to improve efficiency, quality, resilience and green growth
  • projects that take a new agri-tech pilot initiative to market
  • support for groups of artisian food producers to tour and/or move between markets

Examples could include installing electric charging points, creating co working space such as office or kitchens, regional information boards, installing broadband, equipment to showcase regional food.

3. Development and promotion of the visitor economy (both trade and consumer), such as: 

  • projects that link and utilise multiple assets and attractions
  • linking outdoor activity to the landscape for wider economic benefit
  • projects that improve health and wellbeing
  • extending the season and improving experiential tourism
  • helping the area identify with quality local food and drink

Examples could include developing visitor trails, information boards, visitor centres, general development of local tourist attractions and visitor experiences.

A simple expression of interest form can be completed online.

After the call for expressions of interest closes on 19 November, you will be contacted by our Inward Investment Team who will be able to advise you whether you should submit a full application. They will explain any issues around eligibility and can assist you with that application, if required. You will be asked to supply three quotes for the costs you seeking the grant for so you may wish to consider this now to avoid delays later in the process.

Key Dates

Key Dates for the grant process
Complete expression of interest form online 8 - 19 November 2023
Deadline for completion of full applications30 November  2023
Final grant claim date for completed projects29 February 2024

What we can support

  • capital investments that meet the requirements of the scheme such as the purchase and installation of equipment, machinery, technology, or processes that facilitates growth, improves resilience, efficiency, productivity or creates jobs.

What we cannot support

  • paying-off debts or refinancing
  • the purchase of stock or land
  • research and development costs
  • financial investments
  • salaries, travel or subsistence
  • training or accreditations
  • ongoing normal revenue business costs and overheads
  • costs associated with a statutory or legislative requirement for the organisation

Please note that we cannot retrospectively fund initiatives that have already been commissioned, paid for in full or in part or otherwise definitively initiated. Grant funding cannot be awarded as retrospective payment for goods or services procured before a formal offer of a grant has been received and accepted. Multiple grant applications from the same applicant cannot be considered.

Our grants are discretionary and finite; not all applicants will be successful and may not be awarded the full 50% of eligible costs.


Last modified on 09 November 2023

Share this page

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email