A £2.5m investment is on track to create over 130 new jobs for rural businesses in Derry and Strabane thanks to the Derry and Strabane Rural Partnership’s Rural Business Investment Scheme, with 73 of these jobs already in place.
The funding, delivered under the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2014 –2020, is supporting 55 rural businesses with capital investment projects that are creating jobs and enhancing export potential.
The scheme also provided successful applicants with resources towards bespoke training and marketing services aimed at promoting business growth.
Celebrating the success of the Rural Business Investment Scheme in the District, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Michaela Boyle, said: “Derry and Strabane Rural Partnership’s Rural Business Investment Scheme has proven to be a fantastic success, helping 55 rural businesses to invest in their long-term future with the allocation of over £2.5m in funding for a range of capital investment projects.
“This multi-million-pound windfall has helped create 73 new jobs so far for the local economy by supporting local businesses with the acquisition and installation of state-of-the-art equipment, the extension of existing premises, and the delivery of training and marketing provisions.
“We fully expect the number of total jobs the scheme will deliver will increase to over 130 full and part time positions as the rural businesses complete their projects over the next six months, a further significant boost to the area.”
Strabane based Modular Building manufacturer, KES Group Ltd, is one local business to have secured funding from the scheme for the installation of state-of-the-art machinery and the creation of three new jobs as part of a larger recruitment drive.
Conor McCrossan, Managing Director of KES Group Ltd, said: “The Rural Business Investment Scheme funding will allow us to purchase a Panel Production and Saw Line to enable the manufacturing of Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), a key component in the wider manufacturing process of modular buildings and pre-fabricated plant rooms.
“Purchasing this equipment will allow us to manufacture Structural Insulated Panels in-house which will not only increase our operational capacity but crucially improve the quality of our end products. Specific to the introduction of this equipment, we will be creating three jobs within the team, to include two regional sales managers and a production manager.
“This project is running in tandem with our ambitious expansion to a new £3m facility on the outskirts of Strabane that will house our company’s entire business operations and incorporate the introduction of the new production line for the Structured Insulated Panels (SIPs).”
Chair of the Local Action Group of the Derry and Strabane Rural Partnership, Councillor Jim McKeever, said: “Our Rural Business Investment Scheme has exceeded all expectations and has played a vital role in our local economy and made a significant impact on our rural community.
“We were inundated with applications throughout each of the six rounds of funding, and we worked meticulously with applicants to guide them through each stage of the application process, ensuring they had their business plan developed, match funding secured, planning permission granted for any building works, and the necessary quotations in place for equipment or services.
“This attention to detail has allowed our scheme to allocate all of our budget, as well as exceed our targets in terms of numbers of businesses supported and actual job creation.”
The Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2014-20 is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and the European Union (DAERA). The LEADER Fund is administered by Derry City and Strabane District Council on behalf of Derry and Strabane Rural Partnership.
DAERA Deputy Secretary Fiona McCandless said: “Derry and Strabane Rural Partnership Local Action Group (LAG) received £6m from DAERA to deliver a range of schemes under the Rural Development ‘LEADER’ programme to support rural communities through investment in businesses, community services and village infrastructure. It is great to see the positive impact that this funding is having in rural areas”.
For more information on the Derry and Strabane Rural Partnership’s Rural Business Investment Scheme visit: www.derrystrabane.com/RBIS.