Business Support

Harborough Rural Grant Scheme

The Harborough Rural Grant Scheme is opening on Tuesday 26 March 2024 and will close on Friday 27 September 2024. 

Eligible businesses located in rural areas of Harborough District (as identified in the guidance) could benefit from capital grants between £5,000-£20,000 to support their business to diversify, innovate and grow. 

The grants are being managed and distributed by Harborough District Council using funding received from the government through the Rural England Prosperity Fund which is an extension of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit

Before you apply, please read the full guidance for the fund. 

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your project, please contact

Grant themes:

Scheme 1 - Farm business diversification

Supports farm businesses to diversify their business activities outside of agricultural activities. Such projects should improve business resilience, development, and revenue.

Examples of eligible projects: Creation of tourism and leisure attractions, new product or service development, converting farm buildings or land to other commercial or business uses.


Scheme 2 - Innovation and growth

Support micro and small enterprises in rural areas looking to deliver innovative projects. Funding will support projects that change the way businesses do something, to improve efficiencies and to generate more income. Projects will need to demonstrate how they are helping to overcome a rural issue or barrier they face in order to growth.

Examples: Investment in a new technology allowing you to bring a process in-house, or investment in a new line of products or services.


Scheme 3 - Green Technology/infrastructure

Support businesses to invest in energy efficient and low carbon technologies. This means businesses can invest in green technology that will improve their carbon footprint. Businesses could also use this funding to develop their own green technology which can be used to improve the carbon footprint of their business and/or other businesses.

Examples: Investment in renewable energy generation, or Electric Vehicle charging provision.


Scheme 4 – Rural Tourism

Capital grants to develop local tourism attractions, facilities, or infrastructure to enhance the rural visitor economy and increase opportunities to attract visitors to our rural areas.

Examples: Creation of new tourism attractions or the development of existing tourism attractions, or investment in rural accommodation or hospitality facilities.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • The grant funding must be used on capital projects. This means you must spend grants on lasting assets such as a building or equipment.
  • The grants must support new or existing rural businesses to develop new products or facilities that will be of wider benefit to the local economy. This includes farm businesses looking to diversify income streams.
  • Grants must be used for business purposes. They cannot be used for domestic property improvements or for private vehicles. 
  • All projects must consider how the project can work with the natural environment to achieve objectives. 
  • Grant recipients must have robust business plans which demonstrate the viability and potential success of projects.
  • The grants cannot be paid retrospectively. This means you cannot start the project until a grant decision has been made. It must be for a new project. 
  • All applicants must provide assurances that they have all the necessary permissions, such as Planning approvals, building warrants etc., in place prior to applying.
  • The business must be located in a rural area as identified in the guidance. 
  • A micro/ small/ medium sized enterprise employing between 1 and 249 staff.
  • Applications are required to demonstrate that they have match funding from other sources, with the maximum funding from the Harborough Rural Grants Scheme being 50%, other than in exceptional circumstances. Projects which have been able to attract a higher percentage of match funding from their own funds or other sources, maybe more likely to be supported, as they demonstrate that the business has received more support and commitment from elsewhere.  

View the guidance for the full criteria.

How to apply

All applications must be submitted through Grant Approval:

If you have not used Grant Approval before you will need to register an account. If you have used the system before for other grants, you will just need to log in. Once you are logged in, please search select your local authority as ‘Harborough’ and then search all grants. The four different schemes should pop up. Please select the scheme you wish to apply for.

Before you apply, you will need:

  • Two quotes for the goods/services you wish to purchase with the grant, and your preferred supplier stated.
  • A detailed business plan, which demonstrates the viability and likelihood of success of the project. You can find templates here. If you would like support to develop your plan, please contact our team on  
  • Copy of your bank statement which matches the bank details you wish to have the grant paid into.

Please note: Grants will not be awarded until after applications close. 


Grants will be paid in arrears. This means you will need to make the purchase before you receive the grant money.

If your grant is approved, you will receive an approval message telling you to go ahead and make the purchase. You will need to upload proof of purchase. The grant will then be paid into your account.

If you would like to discuss your project please email 

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