New £4.5m Objective One initiative to help farmers diversify
Cornish farmers and other rural businesses are set to receive £4.5 million of help towards diversification over the next three years, thanks to a new Objective One fund developed by Business Link for Devon and Cornwall.
This latest good news for the rural sector in Cornwall follows last weeks announcement of the £7 million rural tourism package developed through Objective One by South West Tourism.
The Rural Diversification Capital Grant Initiative will be managed by Business Link for Devon and Cornwall and has been set up to provide a combination of advice and financial assistance to farmers and related businesses linked to the agricultural sector that are seeking to diversify.
Richard Adams, of Business Link, explained: “Many rural businesses have sound commercial ideas on how to generate new income opportunities, but high set-up costs have often prevented projects starting.
“This new initiative will provide capital grants to enable the launch of new business ideas in the county.”
The fund is to get nearly £1.24 million in grant from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund through Objective One and the same amount from MAFF. It aims to fund 135 new enterprises over the next three years.
Mr Adams said the initiative recognises that diversification continues to be a lifeline for many businesses in Cornwall and has been a feature of some holdings for many years. This is the latest support initiative by Business Link who now offer a comprehensive range of advice and support to the rural economy.
He added: “Business Link has a lot of experience in helping farmers and agricultural businesses in Devon and Cornwall. With our partners we can offer them a wide range of support.
“We are extremely sympathetic to all who are suffering in the current crisis and this is a little bit of good news for the hard-pressed farming community in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.”
The aims of the new fund are to:
Help farms and related businesses improve viability with quality business support
Provide the necessary assistance to promote, support and motivate the development and diversification of rural businesses
Improve the economic prospects for farm businesses through capital grants
Increase the range of activities and niche market opportunities of existing businesses.
The fund will provide three levels of support, including facilitation and early casework to assess opportunities for diversification activities, pre-investment support to develop business ideas, and capital grants. There will also be a fast-track systems for smaller schemes.
For further information on the new scheme, contact Business Link for Devon and Cornwall on 0845 600 9966 and ask for Richard Adams.
The new Business Link service for Devon and Cornwall is designed to provide the best possible help to people starting, running or growing a business. At its core is an information and enquiry centre, supported by a network of specialist advisers and linked to local business support organisations as well as the National Business Link Contact Centre. For more information contact 0845 600 9966.
For further information
Contact Sophie Rae of Business Link on 01752 762249 or the Objective One office.
Objective One Partnership Office
Truro TR1 2UD