19 January 2001

Project for young

rural entrepreneurs

A £900,000 project to help young people set up new agricultural and rural businesses in the Yorkshire Dales has been launched.

The five-year Cornerstone project aims to assist 100 new agricultural businesses started by people under 35 by offering a mixed package of grant aid and loans. An initial £250 is available for market research and approved new businesses can take advantage of a £4000 low interest loan and a £1500 computer package.

Project co-ordinator Mike Keeble said the Yorkshire Dales had a long history of under-employment and many young people were leaving the area in search of better opportunities.

"The Cornerstone project will try to address this imbalance. It will give young agricultural entrepreneurs financial support, as well as access to mentors who have a good track record of success in the rural economy." &#42