The recognition of the success of the Rural Business Awards as a fine affirmation of what so many of who dwell and work in the Countryside must long to understand. It is an accolade won annually by an industry group that works to promote and advance the economic wellbeing of the country. Rural Business is the beat heart of Britain, comprising the bounty of land and landscape, family farm and smallholder enterprises from throughout the countryside which have all gone on to be household names. The awards are the brainchild of entrepreneur Paul G Johnson, and was launched as a way of encouraging and enhancing the growth of rural economy.
The winners have been announced across a wide ranging list of categories. The results of the winners can be found here: https://www.ruralbusinessawards.co.uk/hall-of-fame/2020-21-awards/2020-21-national-winners/
The aim of the Rural Business Awards, as stated by its organisers is “to award those with the vision, determination and perseverance to create new jobs, improve working conditions and promote local businesses across the countryside”. This year’s Awards will no doubt be a celebration of the varied successes of small and medium-scale farming and other types of rural businesses and will further prove how crucial marketing and promotion of the country’s agricultural products can be in boost economic growth. There are many different sectors that are recognised and valued within the Awards. These include; food, drinkable water, landscape architecture and building, horticulture, fruit and vegetables, flowers and plants, livestock, and waste and recycling. There are also a number of other sectors that have been recognised in the past but which now operate at a larger scale than in the past.
The Rural Business Awards, therefore, recognises those businesses that have had substantial impact on the lives of the people living and working in the Countryside. The shortlisted businesses are then subjected to rigorous analysis and review before the awards are announced. The process includes an online survey that draws on the views, experiences and opinions of the people who may be interested in buying, providing a range of advice on how to find a business, and so on. In addition, shortlisted businesses are invited to take part in a Rural Development Festival in an attempt to demonstrate their commitment to the promotion and development of rural areas. The festival will be hosted by the Countryside Alliance and is designed to generate interest and investment in the future growth of rural communities.
The awards recognise both the hard work and dedication put into each winning business and the determination and creativity that they display in coming up with a viable proposal for improvement. The criteria for selecting the best and most deserving candidates involved a detailed review of the proposals put forward by each business. The shortlisted businesses were asked to meet specific requirements including: having had a minimum exposure to the marketing and selling of traditional media, offering services and/or goods that would attract the interest of customers in the UK and the potential to expand and develop their businesses nationally and internationally. The final selection included a further consideration of the financial and business model of each company. The shortlisted companies were invited to attend a formal meeting and a shortlist was made of the best and more deserving candidates. At this meeting, the organisation made a final decision of those businesses recommended for the Rural Business Awards.
The awardees were then contacted and given the formal invitation to attend the Rural Business Awards’ annual awards ceremony at the end of August or early September. It was important to get a high number of applications, as there were only a limited number of seats available. The aim of the awards was to provide a platform for exciting and new rural businesses to be heard and recognised. The fact that the business was run from a rural area was also recognised. As well as recognising exceptional companies, the awards also reward those companies that demonstrate a sustainable commitment to local communities and show a real commitment to the local economy.
The awardees of The Rural Business Awards’ previous years have included some really superb examples of local innovation and commitment by businesses. Past awardees such as the fantastic organic food cafe run by young couple Michelle and Jake Williams, The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge’s own allotment at Blenheim Palace and the local milk market also stand out as some of the best examples of how people have taken the initiative to create jobs and businesses in the UK’s countryside. There are many other excellent examples of the type of businesses and jobs being created in the UK’s countryside. If you are looking for inspiration and ideas on how to start a new business or improve an existing one why not look at some of the awardees won in the past and start working on your development?