Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots MLA has announced a £300,000 capital grant scheme to aid emerging and established rural social enterprises to increase their capacity, potential profitability and sustainability.
The Rural Social Economy Investment Scheme aims to improve rural social enterprise sustainability; to strengthen rural communities; to improve the economic circumstances of rural communities; and to work in partnership with others.
Announcing the grant scheme, Minister Poots said: “It is vital that we support our rural social enterprises to sustain and grow. The social enterprise sector exerts a significant positive impact on the Northern Ireland economy. However social enterprise activity is predominately concentrated in urban centres.
“The Rural Social Economy Investment Scheme demonstrates my Department’s commitment to helping rural communities and will provide an opportunity for rural social enterprises, emerging and established, to apply for a grant of between £25,000 and £50,000 to increase their capacity, potential profitability and sustainability, whilst supporting those who live in rural areas. This will be achieved primarily through capital investment on expenditure related to non-agricultural activity.”
DAERA has appointed Rural Action in partnership with the Rural Community Network (RCN) to carry out animation and pre-application support activities. Assistance for potential applicants includes virtual assistance and a number of online pre-applications workshops.
Applications close at 5.00pm on Friday 11 December 2020.
The Rural Social Economy Investment Scheme is a pilot and the outcomes and lessons from this Scheme will contribute to the development of a future programme under the Rural Policy Framework.
Notes to editors:
- The scheme is targeted at emerging and established rural social enterprises in Northern Ireland to enable them to increase their capacity, potential profitability and sustainability whilst supporting those who live in rural areas.
- For the purposes of this scheme if an enterprise has been trading for less than 2 years it is considered as emerging and if trading for 2 years or more is considered as established.
- To be eligible for this scheme, the social enterprise must have been trading for at least 1 year.
- The funding call will close at 5.00pm on Friday 11 December 2020.
- A social enterprise is a business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners.
- The minimum grant support available for the Rural Social Economy Investment Scheme is £25,000 and the maximum grant will be £50,000. The grants will fund up to 80% of eligible costs (subject to the maximum £50,000).
- For information on pre-application support service available from Rural Action in partnership with the Rural Community Network (RCN) please visit: www.ruralaction.co/social-economy or email: email@example.com