Anglia Farmer’s scheme targets financial barriers

Dan Cox, Anglia Farmers

Dan Cox, Anglia Farmers - Credit: Archant

Agricultural buying group Anglia Farmers (AF) has launched a new service to help businesses and farmers access millions of pounds worth of grant funding.

The EDP Top100 organisation has set up AF GrantResource to help individuals and companies groups overcome barriers to finance by providing regular updates on grants, a bid review service and lobbying for additional rural funding.

The announcement comes as more than a third of small-and-medium-sized businesses do not understand how to take out alternative finance, according to research by Aviva.

The insurer's SME Pulse survey revealed that 36pc of 1,500 firms planned to invest during the second half 2014, but were unaware of their finance options.

Dan Cox, AF GrantResource programmes manager, said: 'Applying for funding can be a complex process requiring resources, knowledge and expertise.

'It is often difficult to know when and where to look for potential sources of funding and challenging to apply successfully.

'That is why this service has been set up. It is available to anyone looking for funding for a project – anything from water management projects to building works or even funding for staff training.

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'There are thousands of grants available nationwide and we can help guide people in the right direction to find potential pots of money which they may be entitled to but which they might not realise are there.'

AF GrantResource will manage grant applications from initial site visits and surveys through to eligibility checks, negotiation with funding agencies and a full application writing service.

Speaking about the SME Pulse survey, Robert Ledger, head of small business at Aviva, said: 'High street banks will always be an important port of call for many SMEs ?whether they are at the beginning of setting up a new business, or seeking investment to expand an existing one.

'However, with the rise of alternative finance options and increasing media focus on schemes such as crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending, it? is important for small businesses to understand that there are a variety of options open to them outside of traditional finance methods, designed to suit differing business needs.'