An £8m business support scheme has been set up to help companies in some rural parts of the North East grow and create jobs.
The North of Tyne Rural Business Growth Service has been set up to help SMEs by providing specialist advice and capital funding for businesses in rural areas.
The scheme, which will last for three years, is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund 2014-2020 (ERDF) and the North of Tyne Combined Authority.
It will be split between advice and support services to help companies plan in areas such as supply chains, resilience and financial projections; plus a capital grant investment fund for businesses to improve productivity, move into new markets and create new jobs.
The scheme – which is being delivered by Advance Northumberland and Northumberland County Council – aims to address some of the the scale-up challenges faced by businesses with growth potential in rural areas.
It is hoped that companies on the scheme will be supported to increase productivity and business performance, do more overseas trading and incentivise business innovation.
Northumbrland County Council leader Peter Jackson said: “As we begin our road to recovery following the coronavirus pandemic, support like this will be crucial for many companies in the county.
“The service will not only provide bespoke business advice and support, it will play a key role in helping rural business grow and diversify and discover new markets – something which could be critical going forward.
“I hope as many of our SMEs as possible take up the offer of support through this programme.”
North of Tyne cabinet member for economic growth Bruce Pickard said: “This is excellent news for businesses in rural areas.
“It’s part of more than £19m for business offered by the North of Tyne Combined Authority that is intended to support growth and innovation, boost rural economies, and bring new investment to Newcastle, Northumberland and North Tyneside.
“Businesses are the building blocks of our economy and it is exactly this kind of support to them that will be crucial in the region’s recovery from Covid-19.”
Companies wanting to find out more should contact the Rural Business Growth Team on 01670 528 400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.