West Tyrone MLA Declan McAleer has encouraged rural businesses, individuals and groups to get prepared for the Rural Business Investment Scheme which is expected to open for applications in the autumn.
Mr McAleer said: “The Fermanagh and Omagh Local Action Group has allocated £3 million of their £6.8 million allocation to the Rural Business Investment Scheme.
“It is anticipated that the first call for funding will be made this autumn with applications ranging from £5000 to £30,000. This will mostly be capital with 50% match funding for new or existing businesses.
“The project call will be under the theme of ‘Innovation’ with priority sectors identified as IT, creative industries, specialist health and well being and service provision.
“The scheme is open to individuals, micro and small enterprises, new and existing businesses, farmers (for diversification) and social enterprises. The over riding objective is job creation, so prospective applicants must demonstrate on their business plan that jobs can be created.
“It it is mandatory to take part in a funding workshop before submitting an application and in addition to demonstrating job creation potential, applicants should have a detailed business plan, quotations, evidence of match funding and all necessary statutory approvals, including planning permission (where necessary).
“The Rural Business Investment Scheme is a great opportunity particularly in the current austere economic climate. I strongly encourage prospective applicants to join the funding workshops and get advice and support on their business plans from sources such as the Go For It programme.”