Essex funding for rural businesses

ESSEX County Council has launched its Retail Enterprise Fund – an initiative designed to support rural services and help small towns and villages thrive.

Grants of up to �5000 will be available to owners of shops, Post Offices and pubs in rural areas, who wish to modernise or diversify their offering in order to strengthen their business model.

Grants will also be available to community groups who wish to set up any of these services in their locality.

Essex county councillor John Jowers, cabinet member for communities and planning comments: “This is a fantastic initiative for Essex which I am very excited to be launching today.

“Small businesses sit at the heart of all of our rural communities and they face unprecedented pressure from competition in nearby towns coupled with the increased mobility of residents.

“It is essential that the rural economy is preserved and this fund will provide a helping hand for businesses to help themselves.”

The fund is aimed at businesses which are finding it hard to access finance from more traditional sources.

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The scheme has been set up following recommendations made by last year’s Essex Rural Commission report which outlined the need to strengthen Essex’s rural economies by creating additional employment opportunities; giving residents access to essential services locally as well as ensuring the longevity of key community hubs.