What are the main challenges facing rural businesses?

There are many challenges that face rural businesses; although the scenery can be very inspiring it does not compensate for the remoteness that often comes with it.

For example, the speed of broadband can be challenging when downloading and uploading key documents, which has a direct impact on the service level provided to customers. The availability and price of transport can also be a challenge - be it to distribute products and services, or using public transport where staff need to get into work and do not possess their own vehicle. Other issues which affect businesses in rural areas range from TB, Foot and Mouth, to the extreme weather conditions we can experience.

I also want to touch on the issue of rural demographics, as there is very much an ageing population within the rural business sector, particularly in agriculture, and new entrants find it increasingly difficult to start up rural businesses, due to the capital required and cash flow. However, there is help and support available through education and training courses for all age groups within specialist colleges which have outstanding provision within the land-based sector for new entrants and existing rural businesses.

Moreover, the outlook for rural business is brighter than it has been in recent decades. There has been a resurgence in demand for locally produced food and drink, and technology has allowed businesses to operate effectively in remote locations through diversification. This is helping to create sustainable rural employment, attracting more dynamic professionals to the countryside.