AN “innovation farm” has been given a £2.7 million European grant so it can give free advice to Cambridgeshire businesses in the food and farming sectors.

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The National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) said the European Regional Development Fund grant would “help foster connections between small and medium-sized businesses”.

The £6.8 million project gives businesses access to free expert consultancy advice and plots to pilot new ideas, as well as help developing busness plans and accessing funding.

“In tough economic times, I’m delighted to see that the initiative aims to create or safeguard jobs,” Richard Howitt, Member of the European Parliament for the East of England said.

“I’m calling for more budding entrepreneurs, farmers and small businesses to come forward to take up the excellent offer of free advice, nurturing and support from the innovation farm.”

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