Rural County Durham businesses urged to have their say. Female sat working on laptop.

Rural County Durham businesses urged to have their say 

Rural businesses in County Durham are being encouraged to share their views and experiences on the challenges they face to help shape future investment plans.  

The National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise (NICRE) and Sedgfield-based Rural Business Network (RBN) are inviting businesses to complete an online survey as part of work commissioned by Durham County Council. 

The survey seeks feedback from rural businesses about the challenges they are facing and to what extent they differ from the needs of those within, and near to, urban centres. It also asks for views on the opportunities for the rural economy in the transitions towards net zero and digitalisation and the most valuable types of funded support and business advice needed in rural areas.  The deadline to complete the survey is Sunday 26 March 2023.

Help shape future investment plans investment plans 

Melanie Thompson-Glen, businesses development manager at NICRE, said: “This is an extremely tough time for all businesses and to shape support to help firms in County Durham to start, sustain, grow and innovate, we want to hear directly from those running businesses in rural areas.  

“Rural businesses’ views on the particular challenges they’re facing and the opportunities decarbonisation and digitalisation could present, as well as the most useful types of funded support and business advice, will be invaluable and help to inform how future investment plans could best be targeted.” 

Jo Martin, RBN founder and partner in a mixed farming business, said: “I’ve never known a more challenging economic climate for rural businesses and our survey is an excellent opportunity for firms to have their say and feed into what support could be provided in the future. 

“We’d urge businesses of any size and in any sector to share their experiences with us.” 

Alongside the survey, NICRE and RBN are holding a series of roundtables across County Durham in March to further explore rural businesses’ views and experiences. See www.nicre.co.uk for more details.