£5,000 available to help rural business with new venture

The new start-up grant aims to give rural entrepreneurs and businesses the help required to overcome initial challenges
The new start-up grant aims to give rural entrepreneurs and businesses the help required to overcome initial challenges

£5,000 is now available for a rural business or entrepreneur embarking on a new venture in the UK countryside.

The money is available as part of the Rural Start-Up Fund in 2020, spearheaded by the Prince's Countryside Fund and Forest Holidays.

It is to be awarded to one winning business or shared between a number of rural startups.

Tom Youngs, England rugby player, farmer, and ambassador for the Countryside Fund, said it is 'hard' to set up a new business, especially in the countryside.

“The fund is an excellent opportunity to offer a helping hand to rural entrepreneurs embarking on a new business venture.

“In addition to financial support, winners will have the opportunity to receive mentoring support from a relevant member of the Forest Holidays team for 12 months,” he said.

Applicants must be 18 and over, and embarking on a rural business venture.

They must be able to demonstrate how their business will, in some manner, support rural communities, promote conservation of the countryside, or support rural sustainability.

Abbie Westcott, owner of Exmoor Blondes, a production service for her own pedigree cattle, provides a bespoke productions service to other breeders in and around Exmoor.

She said starting a rural business can be 'incredibly challenging', more so if the entrepreneur is young.

“When I started Exmoor Blondes it was more of a hobby to give me something to live for.

“The more it grew the more I thought it would be beneficial to diversify and involve others, so that I could help combat rural isolation as well as offer a service that would join communities together.

“I faced difficulties along the way from my own health limiting me and my time, to the fact that I didn't always have the equipment necessary to handle the obstacles that being rurally based presents.

“I was very lucky to have a fantastic unit of knowledgeable, understanding people around me when I began.

“However this isn't always the case for others, they could have the best idea or business the world has ever seen but if they don't have the help and support to grow it what use is it?

“If there was a way of offering mentoring I feel that it would be incredibly beneficial to any business.”

Applications for the fund close on Friday 6 March 2020.