Rural businesses in parts of Northamptonshire could soon benefit from grants up to £100,000 each in a bid to boost the local economy.
More than £1.8m of European Union funding has been successfully secured for the county under the EU’s LEADER programme.
The money will be available for a variety of activities including supporting rural tourism, agricultural diversification, increasing forestry productivity as well as cultural and heritage work.
Grants awarded will be between £10,000 and £100,000 and will need to be match-funded by the businesses.
Firms in the rural parishes of East Northamptonshire, Kettering, Corby, Daventry and Wellingborough will all be eligible once the programme launches later this year.
Cllr Andre Gonzalez De Savage, county council cabinet member for strategic infrastructure and economic development, said: "I am delighted that the county council has been able to help secure this funding for the north and the west of the county.
"The rural economy has transformed markedly in the past few decades and continues to do so. As this continues to happen there may be firms who have great ideas but don’t have the finances available to make them happen.
"What this gap funding does is provide some money so that these ideas can become a reality and invigorate the local economy.
"Not only does this boost the individuals concerned but can also create jobs and bring new services to rural areas, giving them a new lease of life."
Cllr Steven North, Leader of East Northamptonshire Council, added: "I am delighted that the LEADER group has been awarded this money to help our local, rural businesses and support the local economy. Rural businesses suffer more than most through economic downturns and we want to do all we can to support them and make them sustainable and this money will go a long way in helping us do that."
Available over seven years, the LEADER funding has been won by a local action group comprised of public, private and voluntary sector organisations that have an interest in rural Northamptonshire.
The group has been supported by Northamptonshire County Council which will act as the accountable body to administer the funds.
Further information about the programme will be provided once national application guidelines for the funding have been agreed.
In the meantime more information about the programme can be obtained by emailing LEADER@northamptonshire.gov.uk