A £1million capital grant scheme to help existing micro food and drink manufacturing businesses to upscale production to secure new markets for their products will open in March, Rural Affairs Minster Gordon Lyons MLA has announced.
The aim of the scheme is to enable eligible businesses that are processing primary agricultural or horticultural produce to commence supplying to the retail or distribution industry; or to increase the quantity of products they are selling to the retail or distribution industry; or to move into sales outside of Northern Ireland. Grants of between £5,000 and £50,000 will be available.
Announcing the opening of the scheme, Minister Lyons said: “This scheme will help existing micro food and drink manufacturing businesses to have confidence to invest and expand, and to stimulate economic growth and development for our local economy. When the scheme opens for expressions of interest on 8 March it will provide an opportunity for existing micro food and drink manufacturing businesses that are processing primary agricultural or horticultural produce, to apply for a grant of between £5,000 and £50,000.
“I would encourage potential applicants to access the guidance notes online to see if they are eligible for the scheme and if necessary contact my Department with any eligibility queries before the scheme opens on 8 March. It is essential that the projects funded under this scheme provide direct benefits to the supply chain by improving commercial links between Northern Ireland food processors and the farmers and growers who produce the raw materials, particularly the local farmers and growers.”
The Micro Food Business Investment Scheme Information booklet which details the priorities for the funding and the business and project eligibility criteria is on the DAERA website .
Micro food and drink manufacturers that are ready to upscale to access new markets are asked consider the scheme eligibility criteria carefully before starting to complete the expression of interest form which will available through the above link from 8 March 2021 for a six week period.
The Micro Food Business Investment Scheme is one of a series of pilots being developed by the Department and the outcomes and lessons from these Schemes will contribute to the development of a future programme under the Rural Policy Framework.
Notes to editors:
- The scheme announced today is targeted at existing Micro Food and Drink Manufacturing Enterprises – a micro enterprise is defined as an enterprise which employs less than 10 full time equivalent (FTE) employees with a total annual turnover of less than €2m (GDP £1.8m).
- For the purpose of the scheme an existing micro enterprise is defined as a business able to provide two full sets of annual accounts (as submitted to HMRC).
- Eligible businesses and projects under scheme may be located in a rural or urban area, but it is essential that the business is processing primary agricultural produce, particularly produce farmed or grown locally.
- For the purpose of the scheme primary agricultural produce is defined as red meat, pig meat, poultry meat, eggs, milk, potatoes, fruit and vegetables, or cereals and seeds. Projects involving fisheries or aquaculture products are not eligible.
- The minimum grant support available for the Micro Food Business Investment Scheme is £5,000 and the maximum grant will be £50,000. The grants will fund up to 50% of eligible costs (subject to the maximum £50,000).
- Only new food processing equipment and machinery are eligible for support plus dedicated computer software if essential to the operation to the equipment being purchased.
- The purpose of this press release is to give advance notice of the opening of the scheme for expressions of interest from 8 March 2021 and to provide micro food processing businesses with the opportunity to consider the priorities for funding and the eligibility criteria.
- All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or email DAERA Press Office.
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