Funded by Leicestershire County Council, the grants are aimed at small companies who work in the land-based, food and drink, tourism and creative sectors.
Business are urged to bid for the money which is designed to support the rural economy and help create jobs.
The grants will be given out by the Leicestershire Rural Partnership (LRP), which aims to improve life for those living and working in rural areas.
A total of £100,000 is available until next April and it is hoped that another £200,000 will be on offer in the next two years.
LRP chairman Lesley Pendleton said the partnership had a strong track record of boosting the rural economy.
The partnership's recent INSPIRE scheme had supported more than 240 businesses and helped to create or secure almost 70 jobs.
"These are tough economic times and I'm keen to encourage rural businesses to take advantage of these new grants designed to support growth and enhance future investment."
Applications are requested by no later than 31 October 2012.
Further information, application form and accompanying guidance notes can be downloaded from www.oakleaves.org.uk/rcp.html.