If we look beyond the wrappers of agriculture and tourism, rural enterprise is as eclectic and exciting as its urban counterpart. 

According to the Centre for Rural Economy, while farming  defines  the rural landscape, the rural economy in the UK is home to about half-a-million small and micro businesses, mostly unrelated to agriculture, and which provide some 70% of employment. 

And that diversity needs to be highlighted and strengthened to ensure that the rural economy will be sustainable and resilient in years to come.

Ward Goodman have commissioned a report which will consider The Future of Rural Enterprise, identifying the opportunities, the issues which have to be addressed, and will demonstrate the qualities and potential of businesses which have chosen to locate away from city or conurbation environments.

Leading up to publication, the latest thought-provoking interview with a director of one of the companies to be included in the report will be available here for you to download. 

Interview with Peter Martin | Owner, The House of Sarunds

“Cocoa beans are like grapes,” says Peter Martin, “It’s about the quality of the soil and variations in the weather which mean a harvest will taste slightly different each year. I look at chocolates which have been made with blends of beans from a variety of sources by the finest continental chocolatiers, because my aim […]

Interview with Vicky Elliot | Owner, The Labrador Company

Here’s commercial variation on that nursery rhyme theme – ‘How much is that doggie in the window, the one with the waggly tail’?’  The simple idea of making a clock to look like the silhouette of a labrador, with a tail that wags on the movement of the second hand, turned into a rural enterprise […]

Interview with Samantha Ross | Founder | Lavender Blue Bakery

With a degree in hospitality and catering, Samantha Ross had worked front-of-house at venues such as the Oval and Lords before what she made what she describes as a “catastrophic” career change. Having completed a post-grad in personnel management, she took the job of training manager at Butlin’s in Minehead but was fired after six […]

Interview with Hector Gibson Fleming | Managing Director | Wessex Internet

Where best to locate a business if fast and dependable internet is the priority? The village of Farnham (population of maybe 200) or the town of Farnham (almost 40,000)? Actually, the internet connection is better in the Dorset village than the Surrey town – 400mb/s as against 80mb/s. That isn’t an exception which proves the […]

Interview with David Mason | Managing Director | Global Harvest

JUST FIFTEEN months after David Mason started his business came a breakthrough that most owner-managers can only dream about. Except he saw the reality of taking what was on offer would probably end up being a nightmare. “The major airline didn’t so much ask me to quote them for three-quarters of a tonne of my […]

Interview with Steve Leggett | Managing Director | Aviation Requirements

A business degree at most UK universities will take three years to complete. Add a master of business administration, which typically lasts two years, and the student will have spent the same amount of time in higher education as a medic. But in addition, how much ‘real-world’ experience is needed if they want to start […]

Interview with Jason Barber | Co-Founder / Director | Black Cow Vodka

So many names have served to motivate entrepreneurs, including some from history, although Genghis Khan isn’t probably the first which comes to mind as possible inspiration for a new business. Since the early nineteenth century, Jason Barber’s family have been cheesemakers, with their own dairy herd producing the milk. When he took over, he wasn’t […]

Interview with Paul Grimster | Managing Director | Angelfish Software

A key question for the owner of a small, rural business: “Do I have the ability and desire to scale? To push for significant growth, would I have to make a big investment and question the ethos that I started with in the first place: do I really want to grow beyond a lifestyle business […]

Interview with Luke Tetley | Director | HTQ Limited, Exclusive Home Furniture

There’s a divide between rural and urban which has an impact on a business like HTQ Limited, makers and installers of fitted and free- standing furniture under the Exclusive brand for commercial and public sector buildings. “If we need just a few sheets of board we have to accept a small-order surcharge, which our competitors […]

Interview with Richard Lee | Founder Director | Plankbridge

So the sermon goes, ‘the good shepherd lays down their life for their sheep’ – but it might be harder for them to give up their hut. Especially if it’s been hand crafted from sustainably sourced British oak and comes fully insulated with a wood-burning stove or cast iron electric radiator, ready to withstand the […]

Interview with Giles Dick-Read | Founder Director | Reads Coffee

It’s an ambition which his urban counterparts are unlikely to share, although Giles Dick-Read, founder director of Reads Coffee, says really it would best be described as more of a pipe dream. It’s not the desire to double the volume of coffee they roast which would be the point of difference, but how such an […]

Interview with Benjamin Crowe | Founder Director | The Vintage Tool Shop

It was serendipity rather than strategic planning that led Benjamin Crowe to the building which is perfectly synchronised with his business. He happened to be driving past at a time when he needed more space and noticed that the charity shop based in the property was closing down. The characterful three-storey shop with its small […]

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