‘Silver’ Entrepreneurs Drive Rural Enterprise Boom

Mature entrepreneurs and innovative local businesses are behind a predicted rise in rural enterprise, according to the Rural Enterprise Gateway (REG).

“One reason is the grey economy, usually people who used to work in the city moving out and setting up businesses. You’ve got really good knowledge going out into those rural areas,” said REG manager Alex Kilcoyne.

“There are also rural businesses already in existence looking to do new things. Their location and the remoteness is sometimes a disadvantage so they are always looking for new ways to be competitive and drive new ideas forward,” she added.

REG’s comments followed recent survey by Morel Research that found that over half of the predicted ‘hotspots’ for creative business development will be in rural locations.

The research was based on a range of factors including: the number of new businesses registered in an area, the attractiveness of their surroundings and the socio-economic status of residents. Rural towns with unique shops and beautiful scenery also scored highly.

Clwyd, St Ives in Cornwall and Torridge in Devon were among the top five UK locations.

Kilcoyne advised entrepreneurs planning to start a business in a rural area to assess their options and ensure the location is suitable.

“If businesses move purposefully to a rural area, they need to consider their market, their product, their services, and whether it’s going to put them at any disadvantage,” she said.

“If you want a student market, you need to be in a city with public transport. You also might have issues with getting staff out to rural places, but at the same time people would often prefer to work in a rural environment if they can get there.

“There are environmental surveys to be done and what might be a small planning application might become more costly and a time-consuming process. You need to think about whether the advantages of being in a rural area outweigh the difficulties that you might encounter,” added Kilcoyne.

© BHP Information Solutions 2008

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