Who we work with

Rural businesses

Enterprises from all sectors are the cornerstone of rural economies and help support thriving rural communities.

We work extensively with business support organisations, drawing on their established links with firms in their respective areas to broaden our reach.

Due to constraints with our funding, we are unable to support individual businesses, though we can help connect them to wider advice and opportunities within our research, innovation and business partners.

We aim to make a greater difference by working with groups of firms and case study businesses to encourage new ways of thinking, share experiences, and raise the profile of the constraints and potentials of rural enterprise. This work supports the development of new products, services and practices that provide tangible benefits to rural businesses. We then help to connect this insight into the design of future support services and policies.

We also champion innovation and resilience in rural businesses by supporting the national Rural Business Awards.

Many rural businesses don’t acknowledge they’re innovative and we want to dispel that myth - sponsoring the Best Rural Innovation category is one way of helping us to do that. Read about the 2021/22 winner Calibrate and its ground-breaking approach to designing, installing and maintaining renewables systems for agri-businesses.


We gain an understanding of rural firms through our large, in-depth survey of businesses in the North East, South West and West Midlands. Our first survey was conducted in summer 2021 and we have reported the findings in three State of Rural Enterprise Reports on the effects of Covid-19 on firms’ experiences and resilience and on perspectives on infrastructure and networks and farm business performance. 

Our next survey is planned for 2023.