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It has been an exciting start for Rural Business Network

When membership opened on April Fool’s Day in the midst of this pandemic, I didn’t know what to expect for Rural Business Network. I can safely say it’s been an exciting few months with 21 rural business owners joining our community 😊

I was pushed to move events online. The first was a Farm Diversification event on Wednesday 27th May. I was so nervous but lots of lovely people joined me that night and the conversations that ensued were just perfect.

There have been 3 other events: Marketing Basics, Teesdale Cheesemakers – our story so far and Planning & Development – your questions answered. The next event is on Thursday, 30th July, How to choose – the right architect for your project and the one following will be on Thursday 20th August ‘Do you really need a Facebook page for your business?’. Events so far have taken place every 2 or 3 weeks and I’ve got lots of events lined up from September.

How to choose the right architect

Many of our members are farmers who are on the path of diversification. Some have established their new business, some are just starting out so it’s a great mix for Rural Business Network.

Those just beginning their projects don’t have an online presence yet but to give you an idea of where they are based, we have Fiona up in the Highlands of Scotland, Harry in Peterhard, Sue, Sophie, Anna in County Durham, Colin and Stephen in North Yorkshire and Amanda in Cambridgeshire.

Members who have an online presence are:

Member benefits include:

  • A dedicated contact to direct your questions
  • Access to on-line knowledge events – gain knowledge on business issues affecting you
  • Access to our members-only Rural Business Network Facebook Group
  • Weekly e-newsletters – receive relevant news, opportunities, and events direct to your inbox

If you are a sole trader or partnership and based in a rural area, join our community now before the price increases on 1st August 2020.

Join our community

I have been fortunate to secure a place on 3 fabulous business support programmes for Rural Business Network, which are helping me to better support members.

I’m halfway through the Santander Emerging Entrepreneurs Programme, representing The Enterprise Place / University of Sunderland. I’m joined by 83 other start-ups competing for a share of £90,000. I have been attending a series of online workshops and have access to the Sporting Edge platform which is a fabulous resource. One of the first challenges we were given was to record a 30-second elevator pitch. Here’s mine for Rural Business Network:

30 seconds isn’t long to explain but I hope it conveys that Rural Business Network is here to help you grow your business 😊

As part of the programme will have the opportunity for one-to-one support from the lovely people at Crowdfunder to run a crowd-funding campaign. This will run throughout September and I will let you know more details soon.

There will be a series of semi-finals where we’ll have the opportunity to deliver a 3-minute pitch. 8 will make it through to the final to pitch in from of Santander UK CEO Nathan Bostock. I’d best get practicing my pitch!

I have also secured a place on Cohort 4 of Durham City Incubator (DCI). Another fabulous opportunity for Rural Business Network.

DCI is a joint venture between Business Durham, Durham University and New College Durham which supports ambitious businesses based in County Durham less than a year old with high growth potential to achieve their goals.

The programme is delivered through boot camps, one-to-one support, mentoring sessions, workshops, seminars, and networking events.

I’ve learnt so much for the benefit of members already and it’s only week 2!

The third programme I have access to is Durham Ambitious Business Start-ups. The programme will be a support for Rural Business Network over the next two and a half years with one-to-one mentoring, workshops, insights from experts and guidance on new opportunities.

I will be sharing my knowledge & experience from these programmes with members in upcoming events. It’s a very exciting time for Rural Business Network. Join our community now.