Making an Application for LEADER Funding
Making an Application for LEADER funding
Any entrepreneurs or community groups interested in establishing a business or a service in a rural area should approach their local LEADER group (LAG). Whether you are at a very early stage and need advice, training, mentoring or encouragement from people who know the challenges associated with rural enterprise development, or if you have a project which needs matching capital funding you should contact the LAG in your area. Funding can be secured up to €500,000 for community groups and €150,000 for any private promoter with eligible Farm based projects being in a position to apply for up to €200,000. The normal funding level for LEADER ranges from a couple of thousand euro to twenty or thirty thousand, the larger grants are the exception rather than the rule.
Where are the LEADER Companies?
There are 36 individual companies administering LEADER funding throughout rural Ireland. These companies used different names based on their location, and often are referred to as Integrated Local Development company, LEADER company, the LEADER partnership or the Local Action group (LAG). They all administer this particular rural development fund and must apply consistent rules for administering this money. Each LAG will have different priorities based on their local plan and the needs of the area.
What type of funding is available through LEADER?
There are seven measures under LEADER all are open to any rural dweller however there is one, farm diversification, which is exclusive to Farmers and their families. If you want more technical information on the measure please refer to Axis 3 and Axis 4 of the Rural Development Programme or contact your local LAG.
- Diversification into non-agricultural activities
- Support for the creation and development of micro-enterprises
- Encouragement of tourism activities
- Basic services for the rural economy and population
- Village renewal and development
- Upgrading of Rural Heritage
- Training and Skills
What are the matching funding requirements?
Training – 100%
LEADER can provide training and Skills development at a rate of 100%, so there will be no matching funding requirements on the part of the trainee. The type of training will need to address enterprise and community development needs. This measure is not a mechanism to simply fund courses already provided but applicants will need to show that the course addresses needs in a new and innovative way.
Community Groups 75%
The funding for community projects whether they are community services or community enterprises is at a rate of 75% from LEADER up to a maximum in exceptional circumstances of €500,000.
Private Promoters 75%
Private businesses are eligible for capital investment grant of up to €200,000 with a matching fund requirement of 25%.
Analysis and Development 75%
People can also apply for up to €30,000 to undertake a feasibility study at a rate of 75% provided by LEADER.
Process for Application
There are a number of steps that any applicant for funding will need to make. However the most important one is to pick up the phone and make contact.
- First Step: Find your local LEADER company, contact them and ask to speak with the project officer.
- Second Step: Review your Idea with a trained project officer and see is it viable. At this stage you might reconsider, the project may be referred to another organization for support or you may proceed with an application for funding. Remember this application may be for funding to undertake a detailed feasibility study for your idea.
- Third Step: Submit the application for approval. This will need to go through the LEADER committees and will need to be reviewed by the Department Community Equality and Gaelteacht Affairs.
- Forth Step: If your application is successful you will get a Letter of Offer at which stage assuming all is in order contract can be signed and the expenditure on the project can begin.
- Fifth Step: Once the project Is completed and Receipts submitted the Grant can be drawn down. The project may also be subject to review.
Contact Details for LEADER Companies in Ireland are available here.