Micro Food Business Investment Scheme to open in March

News article

Grants of up to £50,000 will be available for micro food and drink manufacturers to expand

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has announced that a £1 million capital grant scheme will open in March 2021, to help existing micro food businesses to upscale production to secure new markets for their products.

The scheme aims to enable eligible businesses to:

  • begin supplying to the retail or distribution industry
  • sell more products to the retail or distribution industry
  • move into sales outside of Northern Ireland

Grants of between £5,000 and £50,000 will be available. The grants will fund up to 50 per cent of eligible costs of new food processing equipment and machinery or dedicated computer software if essential to the operation to the equipment being purchased.

Who can apply?
Existing micro food and drink manufacturing enterprises that are processing primary agricultural or horticultural produce will be eligible to apply.

A micro-enterprise is an enterprise which employs less than 10 full-time equivalent employees with a total annual turnover of less than €2 million (GDP £1.8 million). 

For the purpose of the scheme:

  • an existing micro-enterprise is defined as a business able to provide two full sets of annual accounts (as submitted to HMRC)
  • primary agricultural produce is defined as red meat, pig meat, poultry meat, eggs, milk, potatoes, fruit and vegetables, or cereals and seeds

Businesses and projects may be located in a rural or urban area. Projects involving fisheries or aquaculture products are not eligible.

Projects funded under this scheme should provide direct benefits to the supply chain by improving commercial links between Northern Ireland food processors and the farmers and growers who produce the raw materials, particularly the local farmers and growers.

Find full eligibility criteria and the priorities for the funding in DAERA’s Micro Food Business Investment Scheme booklet.

When can you apply?
The scheme will open for expressions of interest on 8 March 2021 for a six week period. Those interested in applying can contact DAERA with any eligibility queries before the scheme opens.


First published 16 February 2021