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Rural Business Growth Fund (RBGF)

Rural Business Growth Fund (RBGF)

The national Rural Growth Network has specific funding and expertise available for businesses located in rural locations, to help generate rural economic growth. The North East Rural Growth Network is one of five regional growth networks across England, covering Northumberland, Durham and Gateshead.

Between 2012 and 2015 £15 million was allocated nationally, from DEFRA, to support Rural Growth Networks to deliver proposals aimed at helping rural areas overcome barriers to growth, such as poor infrastructure, scarcity of business premises and lack of business networks.

The North East Rural Growth Network delivered a programme of pilot initiatives between 2012-2015, which have been highly successful. With a funding allocation of £3.2m it has helped around 200 new businesses to establish themselves within rural areas; assisted more than 1,000 businesses with either financial support of business advice; created more than 100 new enterprise spaces at 13 business hub sites across the rural North East.

The first two RBGF projects approved by the North East Rural Growth Network are now underway. Knitsley Farm Shop & Granary Café, and Mr. Peter Stenner t/a Woodfuel Barn, both received funds under the grant for the purchase of capital equipment, and expansion of premises. 

It is anticipated that there will be a further call in Autumn 2016 for projects to start in 2017/18. Whilst the budget for 2016/17 is fully committed we are always keen to hear about projects that are being developed.


To discuss potential RBGF projects contact: Katy McIntosh, RGN Implementation Officer, Tel: 01670 528 489 Email:

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