A ONE-STOP shop for rural business advice and funding is now available across the south-west, following this week’s launch of the Rural Enterprise Gateway in Somerset.
Designed as a single point of contact for rural businesses seeking grant funding or advice, REG was unveiled in December, and is now on offer in every county across the south-west.
The £3.5m service is funded by the south-west Regional Development Agency, DEFRA and the EU, and is being implemented by Business Links across the region.
These have each employed specialist advisers and have linked with the University of Plymouth and the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, to offer a comprehensive information network.
Groups of farmers can also receive £1500 a year to spend on consultancy advice; £3000 a year towards training; free advice on collaboration from English Food and Farming Partnerships; and free independent reports on market research, for example.
“Anyone can phone up with a query,” said project manager David Hynd. “There’s no way our customers can keep tabs on all the funding and schemes out there – we offer a package of support to help those businesses develop and grow.”
Contact Business Link on 0845 600 9006 or go to www.sw-gateway.com for REG website.