Private promoters can now receive Leader funding of up to 75 per cent for projects in rural areas.
This increase from 50 per cent to 75 per cent represents a fantastic opportunity for individuals and groups to get businesses off the ground in the county. For every euro the promoter invests in a new business or project, Louth Leader Partnership can give three euro in grant aid, providing the project or business qualifies for support. This increase was announced on 25 April with immediate effect. This change to the leader funding rules will help offset some of the problems entrepreneurs have experienced in accessing credit in the current economic climate. Now that promoters only have to provide 25 per cent in matching funds, more people will be able to draw down grant aid and more jobs will be created in Louth. Cllr Colm Markey chairman of Louth Leader Partnership welcomed the increased funding. “This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone who is interested in starting a business,” he said.
“Seventy-five percent funding is a terrific incentive to get a new business going and to create employment. It is a very long time since 75 per cent grant aid has been available to private individuals in the county. Anyone who has a project in mind, particularly in the business creation or tourism sector, should contact Louth Leader Partnership without delay. We will be delighted to guide you through the application process and help you get your ideas off the ground.” John Butler CEO of Louth Leader Partnership believes the increased funding is exactly the incentive small businesses in the county need. “Project promoters and entrepreneurs have the ideas, the initiative and the energy to create viable businesses and new jobs in rural Ireland but they can’t get financing from the banks. By reducing the matching funds requirement from 50 per cent to 25 per cent, Leader will help stimulate the local economy and create jobs in the county.” In addition, a further €10 million has been reallocated within the existing structures of the Rural Development Programme and will be put towards basic services in communities. For the first time, local authorities working in cooperation with community groups will now qualify for grant aid at 75 per cent under the village renewal and conservation measures of the programme.