Supply chain Praseeda Nair · 5 January 2017
Farmers set to benefit from 120m fund for rural businesses
England’s rural businesses will soon have access to funding worth 120m, as the government confirmed its commitment to supporting enterprise in the countryside. Made available as part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Growth Programme, the fund aims to support local economies in England’s rural communities. During a speech at the Oxford Farming Conference on 4 January, the environment secretary, Andrea Leadsom, stated that the fund would encourage the growth of new companies as well as helping to expand existing rural businesses, particularly those in the farming industry. a quarter of England’s businesses are based in the countryside and this funding will give rural startups, family-run businesses and farmers looking to diversify the boost they need. the RDPE has already supported a range of projects, from installing cutting-edge equipment to restoring flood plains, and the next round will help create more jobs, sell more products and help us access new markets, Leadsom added. Alongside other projects within the RDPE such as investment in flood defence infrastructure the government claimed that the funding would support the creation of 6, 750 rural jobs. The lower cost of land in rural locations has led to a recent rise in the number of countryside enterprises, as entrepreneurs spot more affordable business opportunities. Research from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) found that in the second half of 2016, a quarter of land purchases had been made by non-farmers. Commenting on the rise of rural businesses, RICS head of policy, Jeremy Blackburn, warned that favourable market conditions needed to be met by government support.
ABOUT THE EXPERTPraseeda Nair
Praseeda Nair is an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.