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Funding available for small rural businesses

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There’s still funding available for small rural businesses and community groups to apply for with the LEADER grants scheme.

Farmers, foresters and communities based in rural areas of West Sussex, Lewes district and Hayling Island can benefit from LEADER grant funding totalling around £2.6 million until September 2018, and possibly beyond. Grants are available for capital investments for projects that will create jobs and grow the rural economy.

West Sussex County Council Leader Louise Goldsmith said: “The LEADER fund is an important source of grants available to our many rural communities. It’s there to benefit and boost businesses and community groups.

“We know from the previous LEADER programme that this funding has been so very helpful for people developing their businesses and has been much appreciated.

“If you think you’d benefit from a grant, maybe you want to recruit new staff or grow your business, then I would encourage you to apply. Who knows where that extra bit of funding could take you and your business.”

Under the current scheme, a total of £380,000 has so far been awarded to 13 projects in this region, creating 25 full time jobs over the next three years.

One such project is local wine producer Tinwood Wine Estate, near Chichester, who invested their grant in the construction of three vineyard lodges – giving visitors the choice of an overnight stay and a five star view of the vines.

Estate owner Art Tukker said: “We first saw the concept in Australia and New Zealand and thought it would be wonderful to bring back here.”

“Without the funding our business plan would never have been able to get off the ground.”

The owners of Holmbush Farm, near Crawley, were another successful applicant who used their grant to purchase a forestry harvester head with an on-board computer plus hard-standing at their wood-yard. The project has increased the volume of woodchip and green waste able to be processed and created an additional full-time job.

For more information and for details on how to apply, visit the Business West Sussex website at www.businesswestsussex.co.uk or call the LEADER team on 0330 22 28001.

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Crawley business wins prestigious Queen’s Enterprise Award

Crawley MP Henry Smith has welcomed the announcement that Inspiration Healthcare Group in Crawley has received an award for international trade, as part of more than 200 businesses having been honoured with a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

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Those businesses were selected for their entrepreneurship, and local company Inspiration Healthcare Group is an example of Crawley’s entrepreneurial spirit.

Henry said;

“I’m delighted that Inspiration Healthcare Group has been recognised by the Queen with such a prestigious award.

“This is just one example of a company in Crawley making a huge contribution not just to our local area, but as an innovative and talented business to our growing economy.

“It’s right that the Government are working hard to create the best possible environment to start and grow businesses, and I’m delighted that we’re seeing recognition for existing firms here in Crawley.”

The Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, commented;

“We know that the UK is the best place to start and grow a business, which we will build on through our modern Industrial Strategy. These awards recognise great British success stories that are the face of this achievement, and I’m proud that so many small businesses are being celebrated by receiving a Queen’s Award for Enterprise.”

Three quarters of this year’s winners are small and medium sized businesses, demonstrating that the UK is one of the best places in the world to start and grow a business.

In addition to existing Government support; through the modern Industrial Strategy enhanced backing will be provided, including:

  • Investing £7 billion through the modern Industrial Strategy in new public funding for research and innovation – the largest ever increase.
  • Helping small businesses access the finance they need – since it was established, the British Business Bank has provided support worth £5.9 billion of finance to over 82,000 smaller businesses across the country.
  • Providing small businesses with £200 million to grow and scale-up their operations.
  • Providing a £31 million package of support for small businesses helping them to grow and reach their full potential.
  • Legislating to make it easier for small businesses to access invoice finance, providing a £1 billion long-term boost to the economy.
  • Cutting business rates for small retailers by a third for two years – saving 90 per cent of all shops, pubs and restaurants up to £8,000.

The winners will receive these prestigious awards at a Buckingham Palace reception, where their contribution to the UK economy will be celebrated. These awards recognise businesses for their contribution in four categories, with winners including:

  • 129 International Trade winners
  • 61 Innovation winners
  • Six Sustainable Development winners
  • Five Promoting Opportunity winners

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