£10m fund to revive rural businesses and their suppliers

RURAL businesses and their suppliers are poised to benefit from a £10 million fund being raised to help them recover from the coronavirus lockdown.

Companies will be able to able to apply to the Rural Enterprise Directory Scotland (REDS) Fund for grants of up to £5,000, with half the money going to the applicant and the other half to businesses in their supply chain.

Businesses and social enterprises applying to the fund will also be listed in the rural directory, which aims to increase collaboration between entrants.

They will also receive support and advice from GrowBiz, the rural enterprise development organisation behind the directory and the fund.

A crowdfunding campaign to raise an initial £3 million for the fund will run until 6 August.

Jackie Brierton, chief executive at GrowBiz, said: “Over the past few months, we have witnessed the hardships and suffering experienced by those who have poured years of hard work into building successful rural micro-enterprises and watched them collapse overnight as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown.

“Whilst the Scottish and UK governments have provided much-needed temporary support, many small enterprises and self-employed people in rural areas are struggling to survive.

“Our campaign to raise £3 million is the first stage of a larger vision to build a fund of £10 million so we can reach and support as many of Scotland’s rural businesses and micro-enterprises as possible, providing a vital lifeline for rural communities as they recover and rebuild.”

Read more stories about how Scotland’s businesses are bouncing back from the coronavirus lockdown on Scottish Field’s news pages.