Posted: Mon 9th Jul 2018
The latest Enterprise Nation trip to 10 Downing Street with members and partners meeting Jimmy McLouglin, business adviser to the prime minister, focused on rural entrepreneurs. Several of the attendees joined Enterprise Nation via our partnership with Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
Richard Marsh, CIS
Sally White, SYLO Associates
Katrina Rowton-Lee, The Courtyard at Wainhill
Chris Farnsworth. Raising the BAA
Ashley Cavers. The Wonky Food Co
Karen Riddick, Second Nature Online
Joanna Morgan, Radnor Preserves
Emma Wood, Big Wow
Adrienne Henderson, Hold Tightly
Bev Hepting, Bev Hepting
Helen James, Nutriri
Dawn Crossingham, D52
Elizabeth Gordon, Brilliant Fish
Dawn Scott, The Colour Guru
Sandra Luck, Aldwick Court Farm & Vineyard
Gareth Evans, BizSpace
Anna Price, Rural Business Awards
Justin Bone, The Pop Up Gym
Mike Dyer, ICAEW
The subjects discussed:
Joanna Morgan, who creates preserves including the world's best marmalade from rural Wales, said her biggest challenge is distribution. "We are land locked and two hours away from a motorway". She suggested reduced petrol costs for businesses like hers, and help with managing free delivery.
Sandra from Aldwick Wines also raised the cost of shipping heavy items and suggested government help with the costs.
The topic of internet speed came up several times, with a number of rural business owners complaining about a lack of bandwidth which is hindering their growth prospects.
Richard Marsh from CIS said his company is implementing a tech solution to provide affordable connections for rural businesses.
The government is working on making all businesses fully digital through efforts such as Making Tax Digital. But Michael Dyer from ICAEW said many rural businesses aren't ready.
Self-employed shepherd Chris Farnsworth, who runs corporate team building events on farms, said he wants to expand but feels that employing his first employee means tackling a regulation "minefield" with areas such as pensions and other HR rules.
Karen from Second Nature, who exports across the world, questioned current statistics on the number of businesses selling online.
She said there are actually a lot more who are doing so via marketplaces like Amazon and eBay and called for more support for business owners on these platforms who are often exporters.
Dawn Crossingham raised the costs of travel to and from London. She said to make morning meetings, she needs to pay three times more in travel and the time it takes to get from rural areas to the city is extremely long.
Katrina Rowton-Lee runs a bed and breadfast and said she initially struggled to find help and advice before Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership provided support. She said rural entrepreneurs should be helped with finding support networks.
Justin from The Pop Up Gym praised the support he received. He got a Start Up Loan through Enterprise Nation partner Transmit StartUps and set up his company creating gyms in empty buildings.
"I want to say a huge thankyou to the system," he said. "I was homeless for two years and turned to alcohol. The council put me into a house, got me clean off alcohol and then helped me set up my business."
ICYMI! Thank you to @e_nation & @jimmym for the extraordinary experience of going behind the doors at No.10. A huge privilege to represent small #business & for our voices to be so respectfully heard 🙂 #ruralissues pic.twitter.com/Zvtlk3vG9J
— Brilliant Fish (@brilliantfish) July 7, 2018
Talking about #conserves with the #conservatives today - many thanks to @jimmym @emmaljones and @e_nation for the constructive opportunity to discuss problems facing #ruralbusinesses @FoodDrinkWales pic.twitter.com/aTVYcggGHP
— Radnor Preserves (@RadnorPreserves) July 5, 2018
Today I had the honour of being invited to 10 Downing Street by @e_nation to talk about the issues rural businesses face. It was a great day and I just had to have my photo taken in front of the infamous Black door #ruralbusiness #colourguru pic.twitter.com/yi2NRwUmPx
— Dawn Scott - Colour Guru (@DawnScottColour) July 5, 2018
So this doesn't happen every day! We were thrilled to be invited by @e_nation and @OxLEPBusiness to join a cohort of amazing businesses to share our views on what government can do to help rural enterprise survive and thrive! #ruralbusiness #startuplife #foodsurplus #Oxfordshire pic.twitter.com/u6Bexm21f8
— The Wonky Food Co (@wonkyfoodco) July 5, 2018