06 September 2023

Exclusive look at state of rural enterprise 

NICRE supports national conference

An exclusive preview of insights into how rural businesses in parts of England are faring is to be presented at the Rural Services Network's (RSN) National Rural Conference 2023

Conference supporter the National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise (NICRE) will unveil key highlights from its second large-scale rural business survey ahead of publication later this year. 

Evidence from NICRE’s State of Rural Enterprise Survey is just emerging having been seeking the views of around 3,000 firms in the North East, South West and West Midlands over the last few months. 



Evidence of impact on rural businesses


A major focus of the survey is the impact of the cost-of-doing-business crisis on rural enterprises alongside firms’ response to the climate emergency, and the availability of skills/labour in the rural economy. 

Professor Stephen Roper will give ‘Unlocking the power of rural business: Opportunities for positive policies’ as part of the Rural Economy, Levelling Up and Regeneration session on 18 September, 1.30-3.30pm. RSN members are able to book a place by 11 September. 

Prof Roper, co-director of NICRE and director of the Enterprise Research Centre, said: “Our results will be hot off the press when we present highlights at the RSN conference. While our teams will still be analysing the data and what it means for the state of rural enterprise, the initial findings will provide a first look at how businesses are coping with the significant challenges facing the UK economy right now. 

“As rural businesses continue to battle rising costs, the climate emergency and a shortage of skills, our survey provides much-needed evidence on the impact and coping strategies deployed in order to shape future support and efforts to Level Up Britain. 

“We also hope our preview will increase interest in our full findings which are due to be published in a number of reports later in the year.”



Key output

NICRE’s first survey, conducted in 2021, highlighted how firms showed resilience by innovating and adapting in response to Covid-19 and how sub-standard infrastructure in rural areas – particularly lack of quality broadband – is affecting businesses’ ability to bounce back from adversity

The State of Rural Enterprise Reports are a key output for NICRE as it works to combine research with practical innovation to find new ways of unlocking potential and supporting thriving rural businesses and communities.