Poots launches £500k Rural Social Enterprise Investment Scheme

Date published: 17 October 2022

Rural Affairs Minster Edwin Poots has today launched a £500,000 capital grant scheme to aid established rural social enterprises to increase their capacity, potential profitability and sustainability.

The Rural Social Enterprise Investment Scheme aims to improve rural social enterprise sustainability; to strengthen rural communities; to improve the economic circumstances of rural communities; and to work in partnership with others.

Launching the grant scheme, Minister Poots said: “It is vital that we continue to support our rural social enterprises to sustain and grow. The social enterprise sector exerts a significant positive impact on the Northern Ireland economy. However social enterprise activity is predominately concentrated in urban centres.

“The Rural Social Enterprise Investment Scheme demonstrates my Department’s ongoing commitment to helping rural communities and will provide an opportunity for established rural social enterprises to apply for a grant of between £50,000 and £100,000 to increase their capacity, potential profitability, and sustainability, whilst supporting those who live in rural areas. This will be achieved primarily through capital investment on expenditure related to non-agricultural activity.

“My officials will provide assistance to potential applicants, including facilitation of a series of online pre-application workshops.”

The details of the Rural Social Enterprise Investment Scheme, including how to access pre-application support.

The Rural Social Enterprise Investment Scheme is a pilot and the outcomes and lessons from this Scheme will contribute to the development of a future programme under the Rural Policy Framework.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The scheme is targeted at established rural social enterprises in Northern Ireland to enable them to increase their capacity, potential profitability and sustainability whilst supporting those who live in rural areas. 
  2. For the purposes of this scheme an enterprise is considered as established if trading for two years or more.  
  3. To be eligible for this scheme, the social enterprise must have been trading for at least two years.
  4. The funding call will close at 3.00pm on Monday 14 November 2022.
  5. A social enterprise is a business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners. 
  6. The minimum grant support available for the Rural Social Economy Investment Scheme is £50,000 and the maximum grant will be £100,000. The grants will fund up to 80% of eligible costs (subject to the maximum £100,000). 
  7. For information on the scheme and pre-application support available, please visit: https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/rural-social-enterprise-investment-scheme-pilot-phase-2 or email ruralsocialeconomy@daera-ni.gov.uk
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  9. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office: pressoffice.group@daera-ni.gov.uk.
  10. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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