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Rural Enterprise Fund - Round 2
Closed for now - look out for further funding rounds
  • Full application by midnight Monday 12 February 2024

If you have submitted an EOI by the deadline of 2 January 2024, please read What happens next for more information about the process and timings for the full application.


This round of applications is open subject to Herefordshire Council securing funding from Department of Levelling Up Housing and Communities for 1 April 2024- 31 March 2025. This funding has only been agreed in principle by Government at this stage. Applicants therefore should be aware of this. Once we receive confirmation from Government we will confirm this with all applicants. We expect this to be early in the new year.

Aim of scheme

The Rural Enterprise Fund is a capital grant scheme that has been funded by the UK Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF). The aim is to support new and existing businesses to develop new products and facilities that will be of wider benefit to the local economy. This includes farm businesses looking to diversify outside of agriculture.


Successful projects must be able to demonstrate and evidence how they will be achieving some of the outputs listed below:

  • New and safeguarded jobs (post equipment purchase/building works)
  • Adopting a technology or process that is new to the business
  • Increasing productivity
  • Reducing carbon emissions
  • Increasing turnover
  • Increasing visitor numbers
Outputs and outcomes

Successful projects must be able to demonstrate and evidence how they will be achieving some of the outputs listed below:

  • New and safeguarded jobs (post equipment purchase/building works)
  • Adopting a technology or process that is new to the business
  • Increasing productivity
  • Reducing carbon emissions
  • Increasing turnover
  • Increasing visitor numbers
Who can apply
  • Sole traders, small and micro businesses* based in Herefordshire

    *To meet our definition of a small or micro business, the business must employ 49 or fewer employees

  • Visitor/Tourism businesses with project costs exceeding £30,000. If the value of your visitor/ tourism project is less than £30,000 please see our Visitor Experience Fund
  • The trading activity and investment must take place within Herefordshire
  • Existing and start-up businesses
  • Businesses must be located in the eligible rural areas – a map below indicates the urban areas (in red) that are not covered by the grant scheme. This map is for guidance purposes only. When you submit the expression of interest form the Programme Team will check the project/business location is in the eligible area for this grant

Rural enterprise fund map - exclusion areas

Who is not eligible to apply
  • Farmers seeking grant support for primary production products and food processing. Please see Defra’s website for support for these projects.
  • Visitor / tourism projects, whose project costs are less than £30,000 – see our Visitor Experience Fund
  • Public authorities
  • Town and Parish councils
  • Voluntary groups
  • Social enterprises that are not involved in economic activities
  • Businesses where the majority of income comes from public sources
  • Franchise businesses / national chains
  • Non-economic activities
  • Gambling / betting establishments
  • Any business activity that is illegal or deemed unsuitable for public support by Herefordshire Council and Defra
  • Businesses whose registered address is in Herefordshire but no trading activity is in Herefordshire.
  • Retailers (whose main focus of operation is not to retail local products)
  • Property developers / landlords
  • Projects without planning permission or which will not receive a planning decision by full application deadline 12 February 2024. Any concerns relating to planning that may affect your grant submission please speak to the Programme Team.
What the grant or funding is for

Examples of potential projects:

  • Manufacturing activities and equipment
  • Purchase of equipment for food processing for non-farmer-owned businesses only
  • New builds / converting / altering buildings to other uses, for example, manufacturing/office (no speculative developments)
  • Creation and improvements of leisure/tourism businesses - adding value to the visitor experience

All projects – must be able to demonstrate value for money and additionality and consider the project’s impact on our natural environment.

Eligible costs

  • Capital items - purchase of equipment
  • Building works – alterations to commercial buildings 
  • Individual items that cost £500 or more (exceptions may be considered)
  • Items / end use must be retained until March 2025 or 12 months post final grant payment (whichever is the longest period).
  • The grant has to be match funded by the applicant’s business. This is the difference between the grant you are seeking and the remaining cost of your project. The source of the match funding cannot be from other public funds for the item you are purchasing.

Costs which are not eligible 

This list is not exhaustive. Please discuss any costs you are unsure about with the Programme Team.

  • Purchase of land or buildings
  • Works to domestic / residential properties
  • Speculative building projects
  • Building works to properties not used and occupied by the business making the grant application
  • No Revenue costs/running costs such as consumables, stationary, salaries etc.
  • Services such as solicitor fees, legal, insurance
  • Marketing/websites
  • Training
  • Renewable energy only installations projects (if part of a project will be considered and must be supported by a decarbonisation / energy efficiency plan)
  • Corporate responsibility items – health and safety, Disability Discrimination Act
  • Like for like replacements of obsolete equipment with little or no added value
  • Furniture
  • Computers
  • Vehicles, trailers
  • Items purchased through hire purchase agreements
  • Secondhand items if not covered by a six month warranty and has not been previously bought with a grant
  • Investment in normal agricultural operations / equipment
  • Purchase of livestock / plants
How much you can apply for

Capital grants are available for businesses, for up to 50% of the total project costs.

Existing business (trading 12 months or more):

  • Minimum grant £5,000 - project costs must be at least £10,000
  • Maximum grant £50,000 -  project costs must be at least £100,000

Start-up business (trading less than 12 months):

  • Minimum grant £5000 - project costs must be at least £10,000
  • Maximum grant £10,000 - project costs must be at least £20,000
How to apply

This scheme is now closed for expressions of interest. If you submitted an EOI before the deadline of midnight on Tuesday 2 January 2024, your EOI will be reviewed and if it meets the initial eligibility criteria, we will invite you to submit a full application. This does not guarantee your project will be awarded any grant funding.

Full application deadline

If you are invited to proceed, the full application and supporting papers must be returned by midnight Monday 12 February 2024.

What happens next

Applicants invited to proceed must complete the full application and supporting papers and return them by midnight Monday 12 February 2024.

At full application stage you will be required to submit (along with your full application form) supporting documents which will be detailed in the invitation email. This will depend on the type and scale of project seeking support. As an example, the supporting documents may include:

  • Quotes/ formal tender documentation to verify costs
  • Evidence of funding e.g. bank statement
  • Previous financial accounts and management accounts
  • 12 month cash flow forecasts
  • Business plan (if trading less than 12 months or a diversification project)

Applications submitted after the above deadline will not be accepted.

If your application is successful:

  • You will need to accept the grant offer before placing an order for the items.
  • All projects must be practically and financially completed by 31 December 2024 (if not earlier).
  • Grant will only be paid on receipt of a grant claim form, invoices and evidence that the items have been paid in full and delivered to your business address in Herefordshire.
  • Grant is not paid in advance.
  • Stage payments may be considered for building works.
Further information

If you would like to discuss your proposal before completing the form, please contact the Programme Team on 01432 260787 or 01432 260662 or via email to

Read more about the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

UK Subsidy Control Regime

This grant scheme will be administered under Minimal Financial Assistance rules. Applicants must ensure that they are compliant with the UK subsidy control regime. You are asked to confirm this within the full application form.

No work to start before grant offer letter received

Please note items/works cannot commence/be ordered or purchased prior to receiving a grant offer letter. If an order has been placed prior to acceptance of the grant offer the grant offer will be withdrawn.

This is the second call (deadline) for applications. If budget remains after this call further, funding rounds will be opened and advertised.

For updates on other funding opportunities please visit the Marches Growth Hub website or contact the Herefordshire Marches Growth Hub Team 01432 383343 or email: