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Rural Business Development Grant Scheme

Rural Business Development Grant Scheme


The Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation Programme’s (TRPSI) Rural Business Development Grant Scheme aims to support the sustainability, recovery and development of micro rural businesses across Northern Ireland by providing a small capital grant for the business. The TRPSI Programme is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, and this grant Programme is administered and managed by local Councils.

This is a capital grant scheme to support the purchase of new capital items of equipment or machinery or to set up an e-commerce website which cost at least £1,000 and no more than £20,000.

PLEASE NOTE: Previous applicants who have received financial assistance from the Rural Business Development Grant Scheme in 2019-20 or 2020-21 are not eligible to apply.

Examples of eligible expenditure includes:

  • Computer equipment, eg computer, laptop, printer.
  • Computer software (outright purchase; ongoing license fees are not eligible).
  • E-commerce Websites to allow online purchase capabilities.
  • New equipment/ machinery.

Covid-19 business recovery equipment, including free standing screens and hand sanitizer units (the hand sanitizer is not eligible).

The Scheme can provide funding of up to 50% of costs for capital items up to a maximum of £4,999.  The minimum grant awarded will be £500.  The total cost of the capital project must be a minimum of £1,000 and must not exceed £20,000.  Applicants must provide the remaining match funding towards the project.

This is a competitive process and all grants awarded will be determined on the base of merit.

You can apply for a Rural Business Development Grant if:

  • The business is based in a rural area of Northern Ireland.  A rural area is defined as an area with a population of less than 5,000 residents. If you are unsure if you are in an eligible rural area, please contact your local Council office before submitting your application.
  • You are an existing, registered  private Business or Social Economy Enterprise that is actively trading commercially; evidenced by providing your self-assessment number or Limited Company details and sales turnover details.
  • You have not previously received funding under the TRPSI Rural Business Development Scheme in 2019-20 or 2020-21.
  • Your business currently employs less than 10 full-time equivalent employees (based on full time 30 hours per week and part time at least 16 hours per week).   *Full-time employee must work at least 30 hours per week. Part-time employees must work at least 16 hours per week.
  • You are appropriately insured or prepared to obtain appropriate insurance if awarded a grant (building or contents insurance as appropriate).  No evidence of this is required at application stage, but you will be asked to confirm insurance cover at grant claim stage.
  • You have a dedicated bank account used by the business.  No evidence of this is required at application stage, but you must confirm you have this as part of your application declaration.
  • You can provide a detailed specification and two ‘like for like’ quotations for each item to be purchased which meet the guidance stated in section 1.7.
  • You can complete your project before 17 December 2021.  It is anticipated that grant offers will be made in October 2021.  Your project cannot commence until you receive a formal offer of funding.  Projects must be completed by 17 December 2021, with all works completed, onsite, paid and through the bank account by this date.
  • You are aged 18 or above at the application deadline.  You may be asked to provide evidence of this at some point in the assessment process, if you are awarded a Letter of Offer.
  • Only one application can be accepted per business/ legal entity.
  • Sports Clubs and Community Groups can only be considered if they are commercially trading and generate sales revenue from selling goods and services to customers who are not exclusively Club or Community Group members.  The grant can only be used to support the sustainability, survival and/or development of this commercial element, and not for the club or community group on its own. Projects that can be supported from other funding sources, such as Sport NI, are not eligible to be considered under this scheme.

Applicants who are deemed successful must be able to attend a Letter Of Offer workshop (Date TBC).  Failure to attend these workshops will result in your Letter of Offer being withdrawn.

Applications must be received by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council electronically by 12 Noon on Friday 30 July 2021.

Any applications received after this time will not be accepted.

Applications and claim documentation should be emailed to

This grant scheme accepts application and claim documentation in electronic form.  You must use the same email address throughout the process for submitting your application form and any Letter of Offer and claim documentation.

Download Information on how to apply – July 2021 (Powerpoint presentation)