Applications Open for Rural Business Awards

With the Rural Business Awards recently announcing their 2018 winners across the UK, they’re already gearing up for the 2019/2020 awards. Despite the national final not being held until 28th February 2019, businesses can already apply for next year’s regional awards. The winners will once again be announced in October, meaning there are many months ahead, but what’s the harm in entering early?

What makes this year slightly different is that there will be no entry fee for their regional awards. This makes it a fantastic opportunity for farm shops to get themselves in the national spotlight at the cost of only a little of their time.

The Rural Business Awards have three broad categories — Land Based businesses, Land Related Businesses and Other Businesses located in rural areas — and any applicant must fall into one of these. This is with an aim to “celebrate the achievements of our rural businesses, from engineering through to artisan food producers and professional services organisations”, according to the organisers. Furthermore, the awards will be judged by a panel who are themselves part of the rural business sector.

The awards are then divided into eleven more specific categories, and each business must decide where they best fit. The categories for the 2019 awards are:

Best Rural Start-Up Business
Best Rural Diversification Project
Best Rural Retail Business
Best Rural Professional Services Business
Best Rural Creative, Artisan or Crafts Business
Best Rural Digital, Communications or Media Business
Best Rural Social Enterprise, Charity or Community Project
Best Rural Tourism Business
Best Rural Recreational or Outdoor Pursuits Business
Best Rural Food or Drink Business
Rural Young Person of the Year

When applying, any farm shop should include an introduction to their business along with their ethos, aims and objectives. Additionally, they must try to show their uniqueness, successes and vision along with how their values link to the rural sector. Moreover, they should demonstrate how their business impacts the rural economy and way of life. There should also be an overview of financial information and plans on how the business will grow.

Finally, applications should be backed up with images of the businesses “proudest moments”, a logo at print quality, testimonials and relevant contact information — including a link to a website if there is one.

According to previous judges, the financial information is key, saying that entrants would have scored higher if they had submitted even the most basic info, such as percentages. It is worth noting that all judges sign non-disclosure agreements and take privacy very seriously, according to the organisation.

Entries close on Friday 7th June 2019, and further details on how and where to apply can be found here.