It can be wrongly assumed that the rural economy is all about agriculture or land-based activities. However, in practice, the rural economy is much more diverse.

The North of Tyne region has significant untapped innovation potential and the aim of this project is to bring together a wide range of communities, local businesses and organisations to develop new products, solutions and services that can further support the development and progression of the rural economy in the North East of England.

We aim to support local small and medium businesses and organisations in the development of a new product or service, based on one of our Innovation Challenges.

Each challenge will focus on a different issue faced by rural communities, so there will be opportunity for many different types of organisations to get involved.

Four people working in a rural setting

Supporting your Organisation

We will bring together key stakeholders and industry experts to work alongside you throughout the Innovation Challenge process.

We will make sure that you have access to the necessary expertise required to make your ideas a reality before assisting you to bring your product or service to the market.

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To be eligible, your organisation must meet the Small and Medium Sized Enterprise (SME) definition, with a trading address in Northumberland, Newcastle or North Tyneside, not be in financial difficulty and comply with EU State Aid and UK Subsidy Control rules.

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Innovation Challenges

We will be running a range of individual Innovation Challenges. Each one will focus on a different rural issue. These could range from subjects like mobility and transport, crime or decarbonisation through to housing and flooding in rural areas.

People working together at a table with laptops and tablets

Grant Programme

Following involvement with an Innovation Challenge, organisations with a total project value of up to £6,000 can apply for up to 50% of grant funding towards the development of new products and services.