The Rural Business Growth Service (RBGS) aims to help rural businesses with their strategic business growth, providing business support and access to grant funding from the North of Tyne Growth Investment Fund.

This is a programme of investment part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) which supports business growth and economic activity across rural areas of the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA).

The RGBS Investment Board are currently looking for new board members to help support its team of representatives that review funding applications from rural businesses and make in principle funding decisions. The primary aim of the fund is to create employment and stimulate business growth, resulting in increased profitability, rural wages, and employment growth in rural SME’s, strengthening the economy and creating better jobs in the North of Tyne area.

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RBGS has been running for over two years, registering over 360 SMEs to the programme. In this time, 17 capital grants have already been approved, subject to contract, with a value of over £1,380,000. By the end of the programme, it is hoping to have attracted £3.3m of private sector investment and have created a minimum of 187 new jobs in the area.

The Investment Board comprises a combination of private and public sector representation with representatives from each of the constituent local authorities (Northumberland County Council, Newcastle City Council, North Tyneside Council) and NTCA, Advance Northumberland and representatives from local businesses.

The Investment Board meets monthly, usually on the first Wednesday morning of a month. Board members are expected to prepare ahead of meetings with papers provided at least a week in advance. This is a voluntary, unpaid position and meetings usually take place during office hours.

The service would love to hear from representatives from local businesses across Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland who would be interested in sharing their knowledge, experience, and expertise as a new board member.

If you would like an informal chat about the role or to find out more about joining a board that is making a positive difference to rural businesses, please contact Ivan Hewitt on 07920 184617