RDPE Growth Programme Business Development Grants – closed

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Funding was available for rural businesses including farm diversification with an allocation of £1,350,000 for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly but has now closed.

Micro and small business make up over 95% of business in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly so improvement in the growth and the productivity of micro and small businesses could have a significant effect on the economy of the LEP area.

Priority was given to projects that

  • generate growth through an increase in turnover and jobs in the applicant business
  • improve productivity in the applicant business
  • create jobs that are paid above the average annual salary for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (£17,389)
  • enable farm businesses to diversify into non-agricultural activities, including
    • creation of office space/workspace to fulfil evidenced local need
    • development of craft and handicraft activity
    • leisure, recreational and sport activities
  • create new and expand existing micro and small businesses in rural areas
  • allow the applicant business to start exporting products, or increase the volume of products exported
  • reduce the need for imports
  • invest in equipment, technologies or processes, which can include commercialising academic research or trials, to make new or higher quality products
  • invest in, equipment, technologies or processes to reduce waste, where this forms part of the project.

Applications needed to show the local need and demand for the project that will grow the market overall and not simply take trade from other businesses.

The business development grants will normally cover up to 40% of the project’s total eligible costs. The minimum grant on offer is £50,000 in Cornwall and £10,000 on the Isles of Scilly so the minimum total eligible cost of a project would therefore be £125,000. The maximum grant per project is €200,000 (approximately £170,000 at current exchange rates).

These grants are for:

  • small businesses or micro businesses only, including social enterprises in rural areas.
  • farmers (or members of the farm household) diversifying into non-agricultural activities.
  • The project must be located in a rural area – please note the areas of Camborne/Pool/Redruth, Penryn/Falmouth, and Saltash, are deamed urban areas and are therefore ineligible to apply for funding.


Business Size

Number of FTE
 Annual turnover or
balance sheet total


fewer than 10and

€2m (about £1.6million)
or less

Smallfewer than 50and

€10m (about £7.9million)
or less

Eligible costs

The grant can be used to pay for a percentage of the following capital costs:

  • constructing or improving buildings
  • buying new equipment and machinery

The following costs are also eligible, if they form part of a larger project being funded:

  • architects, engineer or consultant fees for the project (as long as these don’t add up to more than 15% of the project’s total eligible costs)
  • buying or developing a dedicated piece of computer software (but not an off-the-shelf piece of software like Microsoft Office)
  • patents, licences, copyrights or trademarks
  • energy-saving and resource efficiency equipment

How to apply

The deadline for submitting an expression of interest was midnight 31 May 2018. You should aim for your project to be finished and paid for, and completed grant claims submitted, by 31 December 2020 (although, if possible, the Government would like to see projects finished pre Brexit by 31 March 2019).

The government has confirmed that it will guarantee funding for RDPE Growth Programme grants if these are agreed and signed before the UK’s departure from the EU, even if the grant agreements continue after we have left the EU, subject to projects meeting the following conditions:

  • they are good value for money
  • they are in line with domestic strategic priorities

Please note for smaller projects funding is available through the Local Action Groups please see here.

For further information please see here or contact our Grants Specialist Alison Elvey on 01872 276116 or alison.elvey@rrlcornwall.co.uk for further information.

Updated 17th July 2018.