Financial Supports For Business Part 5/6. Leader Development Programme
Background: LEADER is a rural development fund which has been operating in Ireland since 1991 and is part funded by the EU. There are currently 36 local action groups (LAGs) administering over €80m per year across the whole of rural Ireland. Support available: Advice, training, mentoring and encouragement from people who know the challenges associated with rural enterprise development. Eligible projects can obtain capital funding via their LAG in the related area. Matched funding of up to €500k can be secured for community groups and €150k for private promoters. Eligible Farm based projects can apply for up to €200k. The normal funding level for LEADER ranges from a couple of thousand euro to twenty or thirty thousand, the larger grants tend to be the exception rather than the rule. LEADER funding is generally provided for the following functions and/or activities: - Diversification into non-agricultural activities - Support for the creation and development of micro-enterprises - Encouragement of tourism activities - Basic services for the rural economy and population - Village renewal and development - Upgrading of rural heritage - Training and skills development Who qualifies: Any entrepreneurs or community groups interested in establishing a business or a service in a rural area. The Leader fund operates a matching capital funding system as follows: - Training and Skill development – up to 100% of project funding provided by Leader Programme - Community projects – Up to 75% of total project funding provided (to a maximum of €500k) - Private Promoters –Up to 75% of project funding provided (to a maximum of €200k) - Analysis and Development – Up to of 75% of project funding provided (to a maximum of €30k) How to apply: The application steps are as follows: Step 1: Find your local LEADER Company/ LAG, contact them and ask to speak with the project officer. Step 2: Review your Idea with a trained project officer and see is it viable. At this stage you might reconsider, the project may be referred to another organization for support or you may proceed with an application for funding. Remember this application may be for funding to undertake a detailed feasibility study for your idea. Step 3: Submit the application for approval. This will need to go through the LEADER committees and will need to be reviewed by the Department Community Equality and Gaelteacht Affairs. Step 4: If your application is successful you will get a Letter of Offer at which stage assuming all is in order contract can be signed and the expenditure on the project can begin. Step 5: Once the project is completed and Receipts submitted the Grant can be drawn down. The project may also be subject to review. For further information please check: www.nrn.ie or contact National Rural Network.