Funding Available

 Find the funding your business needs to grow.



For a summary of all current capital rural grant programmes click here.

The latest round of grant funding from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) for the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area has been announced, with grant funding totalling £9.7m available to businesses in the food processing, tourism and rural business development sectors.

The RDPE provides funding for projects in England, which creates jobs and growth in the rural economy. They are looking for projects that will grow a business, create jobs or bring more money in to the rural economy. Grant funding can help pay for constructing or improving buildings, and buying new equipment and machinery.

These capital grants will fund up to 40% of your project cost. The minimum grant is £35,000. This means that the overall project cost will need to be over £87,500 to be eligible for the funding. Businesses must be located in the eligible rural areas of County Durham, Northumberland and Gateshead and within the North East Rural Growth Network boundary - see map  (Note – some areas of Gateshead are not within the eligible area and you are advised to check).

Three grant funds are available for:-

  • Food Processing
  • Tourism infrastructure, including tourism accommodation
  • Rural Business Development grants for small and micro businesses. Priority sectors are: manufacturing and engineering, pharmaceuticals, food and drink, knowledge intensive business services and creative businesses. Activities include diversification of a farm business into non-agricultural activities. 

Full details of the calls and guidance notes can be found here.

Applicants are invited to submit expressions of interest via email to 

The grants are funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), which is part of the European Structural Investment Funds (ESIF).

The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) supports European policy on rural development. To this end, it finances rural development programmes across the Member States and the regions of the Union. Programmes are designed in cooperation between the European Commission and the Member States, taking into account the strategic guidelines for rural development policy adopted by the Council and the priorities laid down by national strategy plans.

RGN Capital Grants are now open until 31st May 2018. For further information click here.

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP) is inviting Expressions of Interest from Incubator projects which match the strategic aspirations set out in the Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) and the innovation programme with significant potential to make a demonstrable contribution to the Incubator network within the region.

This call will be open until 30 April 2018. Expressions of Interest will be scored and assessed by the North East LEP, with a selection of projects invited to come forward with a HM Treasury Compliant Business Case.

Find out more here.

The North East Lep are inviting bids from early stage innovation projects to come forward for development stage funding that will help to prepare business cases that can help deliver the ambition set out in our Strategic Economic Plan.  

This call is open until 23:59pm on 30 March 2018.

Projects that are able to demonstrate clear links to the SEP and key Government policy (such as the Industrial Strategy) and are anticipated to be over £5m in scale are encouraged to come forward. Funding available through this call is to support the preparation of robust business cases.     

More information can be found here.

Narec Distributed Energy (NDE) is once more offering 100% funded accredited heat pump training courses to North East based heating engineers; training them to install and maintain this renewable energy heating system.

The courses are:

Installation Courses

  • Solar PV Installation and Maintenance Training - Logic Level 3 - 4 days
  • Solar Thermal Installation & Maintenance Training - Logic Level 3 - 4 days
  • Heat Pumps Installation & Maintenance Training - Logic Level 3 - 4 days
  • Principles of Metering for Renewable Heat Systems - Logic Level 2 - 1 day

Prerequisite Courses

  • Water Regulations Training Course (WRAS 1999) - 1 day
  • Energy Efficiency for Gas & Oil Fired DHW & Heating Training - Logic Level 3 - 1 day
  • Hot Water Systems & Safety (Incl. Unvented hot water) - 1 day

General Courses

  • Fundamental Principles of Environmental Technology Systems - Logic Level 3 - 1 day

Funding is provided through the European Social Fund via New College Durham

To enrol on a course and find out detailed eligibility criteria see further information here or contact Narec Distributed Energy on or 01670 357 638.

The new scheme from NBSL allows businesses to access up to 35% funding towards projects costing between £3,000 and £8,000, with a maximum grant of £2,800.

Geographically, any business in the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP) area of County Durham, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear can bid for the funding.

The fund can be used for most forms of external expertise such as:

  • business growth planning
  • marketing
  • strategy development
  • change management
  • expansion planning
  • developing quality management systems
  • product development
  • accessing new markets
  • design costs

Capital purchases, printing and advertising costs cannot be funded.

For further information please visit here.

A new £60 million grants scheme where farmers can bid for cash to buy new farm equipment has been announced by Farming Minister George Eustice.

The initial offer is for £15 million of small grants, between £3,000 and £12,000, for a range of equipment and technology to be used on farms, with applications due in by 14th March 2018. Applications will be scored after the closing date and applicants should know soon afterwards whether they have been successful. Full details ared available on the Countryside Productivity page on The page includes links to the handbook and a portal to a very simple online application form. Grants are available for a specified range of equipment. Applying online only takes a few minutes. 

The intention is that there will be further rounds of grants later in the year.

 If you’re a UK-based business or research organisation, you may be able to compete for government-backed funding to:

  • research and develop a process, product or service
  • test your innovation ideas
  • collaborate with other organisations

You can find all of the current open opportunities here.

Find out more about the funding application process here.

Connect to experts and support here.


What are the big issues facing large corporates, the public sector and society at large? Does your business have the technology, talent or services to provide solutions?

Every week the Innovation SuperNetwrok releases challenges that could be turned into commercial opportunities for your business. Example challenges include: innovative solutions to map a drains and sewer network and GP practices of the future - the NHS is seeking innovative ways to deal with increasing demands on GP surgeries.

If you think your business has the technology, talent or services to provide solutions to the Innovation Challenges visit the Innovation SuperNetwork to find the next challenge here.

The Green Business Fund from the Carbon Trust is now offering up to 30% of the total project cost for energy efficient equipment upgrades and refurbishments, up to a maximum of £10,000.*

This offer is open to qualifying SMEs in England, Scotland and Wales and is time limited. As well as the non-repayable Capital Contribution, qualifying businesses are also entitled to receive the following support at no cost:

  • Energy survey for business
  • Energy saving equipment implementation advice

Implementation support is only available for companies with up to 1,000 employees and is available until March 2018, on a first-come, first-served basis.

For further information visit here.

If you are interested in making an application to the Green Business Fund for any of the services above please contact Alex Sykes on 020 7832 4773 or email

*Key terms apply.


The North East Investment Fund is a loan fund supporting capital projects that encourage local economic growth and create jobs in our area. 

Since 2012, £58 million has been secured by organisations with projects that will have a positive impact on the North East regional economy.

The North East Investment Fund is managed by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and financed by £25m of Growing Places Fund and £30m of Regional Growth Fund.

For further information visit the North East LEP website here.

Northumbria University is keen to help businesses to address challenges that they face through the provision of free consultancy via its Business Clinic. 

The clinic was established to give final year and post-graduate students opportunities to get experience of problem solving in a real working environment.

Businesses present the clinic with details of specific challenges that they face and will then task a group of four students to provide a solution with the support of a team of experts in Newcastle Business School. 

For further information click here.

Cramlington-based Mayborn Group, which owns the famous Tommee Tippee baby feeding brand, is looking to identify small businesses, inventors and innovators with whom it can form collaborative arrangements to bring new products to market.  It has launched its new “Inspire” programme as a means of inviting those entrepreneurs to work with the company.  For more information click here.