WOULD-BE entrepreneurs in rural Yorkshire are being advised that there is a grant fund of £4 million available as "seed-corn" to set up new businesses - but they are warned to apply now.
The Rural Enterprise Fund was set up in the wake of the foot and mouth disaster to encourage country folk to strike out into new enterprises and there is still a huge sum left in the pot for would-be bidders.
But the Country Land and Business Association is warning aspiring entrepreneurs to get their bids in soon. The fund closes next July and the deadline for applications is in May. To win a grant, people must submit a detailed business plan and preparing that can take time.
Says CLA Yorkshire director Dorothy Fairburn: "That's less than six months to put together a proposal that in many cases might involve first obtaining full planning consent from the local authority," said the CLA's regional director, Dorothy Fairburn.
Yorkshire enterprises to have benefited so far range from a new farm-based brewery in the Wolds and the introduction of bison, to marketing game meat, producing bottled spring water and establishing a farm shop and café.
"Farmers and land managers have demonstrated their entrepreneurial skills and ability to come up with innovative ideas for alternative income sources. The CLA is urging those of its members who haven't yet put forward a proposal to do so quickly before the funds run out," added Miss Fairburn.
For more information, ring 0113 230 3750.