£3m scheme set to DRIVE up rural employment

Grants are available for businesses that want to expand and employ more people.

The DRIVE scheme (Delivering Rural Investment, Vital Employment) is a two-year project designed to encourage and support sound business investment decisions. The project has received £3million of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund.

Expert mentors will be on hand to help businesses develop strong project and business plans. And to help put those into action, businesses will then be able to apply for grants of between £5k and £30k.

The aim is to help boost jobs as all applicants will need to put forward job creation as a result of their grant application. The scheme is open to existing and new businesses. New businesses looking to apply will have to be aiming to employ 3 new members of staff within the next three years.

Cllr Graham Plant, cabinet member for growing the economy, said: “DRIVE is part of a raft of support that we’re working to make available to help support Norfolk’s economy to emerge as strongly as possible from the current pressures brought by the pandemic.

“The focus of the DRIVE scheme is to help new and existing micro and small businesses who are aiming to grow. Creating new employment is a key driver."

From 31 March 2021 businesses will be able to visit the project's website to find a range of grants and funding that are available to eligible businesses: www.driveforbusiness.co.uk