Rural businesses are set to benefit from a business support programme that will stimulate growth amongst existing businesses to result in a prosperous economy.

The North of Tyne Rural Business Growth Service is a £7.896m brand new business support project, which plans to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) based in the rural areas of the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) Area over the next three years. The main objective is to provide a bespoke, locally accessible, business support and advice service, which will focus on meeting the specialized needs of rural businesses with the development of business growth plans. This support will also aid businesses in their Covid response resilience planning.

Group of people standing by the Railway viaduct over the River Tweed

The programme is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund 2014-2020 (ERDF) and the North of Tyne Combined Authority. The service is being delivered using a variety of methods to ensure easy access for businesses across the NTCA Areas.

The North of Tyne Rural Business Growth Service is delivered by Advance Northumberland and Northumberland County Council and has two linked components:

  • Business Advice and Support Services to support the development of growth plans and guide businesses towards appropriate sources of finance. Providing a single point of contact, with access to 1-2-1 specialist advice via a pool of Technical Advisors that specialise in business planning, financial planning and management, financial projections, supply chain, resilience planning, legal advice and taxation.
  • A Capital Grant Investment Fund to support investment in projects that enable rural businesses to expand productive capacity and / or diversify into new markets or products which will lead to new job creation.

The programme will help address the scale up challenges faced by businesses with growth potential in rural areas, supporting access to suitable finance products, enabling growth and maximising opportunities. The scheme will help drive increased productivity and business performance, encouraging more overseas trading and incentivising business innovation. Fully funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority and the European Regional Development Programme 2014-2020, it provides access to a dedicated enterprise specialist, a range of technical advisors and access to a grant programme for eligible businesses.

North of Tyne Cabinet Member for Place and Productivity and Leader of Northumberland County Council Cllr Peter Jackson said: “As we begin our road to recovery following the coronavirus pandemic, support like this will be crucial for many companies. The service will not only provide bespoke business advice and support, it will play a key role in helping rural business grow and diversify and discover new markets – something which could be critical going forward. I hope as many of our SMEs as possible take up the offer of support through this programme.”

North of Tyne cabinet member for Economic Growth Cllr Bruce Pickard said: “This is excellent news for businesses in rural areas. It’s part of more than £19 million for business offered by the North of Tyne Combined Authority that is intended to support growth and innovation, boost rural economies, and bring new investment to Newcastle, Northumberland and North Tyneside. Businesses are the building blocks of our economy and it is exactly this kind of support to them that will be crucial in the region’s recovery from Covid-19.”

To find out more, please contact the Rural Business Growth Team on 01670 528 400 or email