Economic chiefs in Kent and Medway are urging the county’s rural businesses to bid for a share of development funding worth some £14.5m. The Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced that the next round of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Growth Programme, is now open for bids, in which rural and farm businesses can put their case for funding for projects.
These can be schemes that help new companies get off the ground, support existing one to grow, develop new products and access new export markets. The encouragement comes from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), which champions the economic growth of areas including Kent and Medway and its 344,500-strong business community.
Chairman Christian Brodie said: “Nearly a quarter of our area’s population live in our rural communities and the funding is welcome, and timely. “It is vital that everything is done to ensure we have a strong and vibrant local economy, which is why we have made the rural sector an integral part of our work. “We are confident that funding via the RDPE will help create new businesses as well as support the network of organisations already doing a great job in nurturing and supporting existing rural jobs.”
To help local firms fully understand the opportunities offered by the funding, SELEP is organising three events – one of which will be in the county on the morning of April 6, at a venue yet to be confirmed.