With new funding in place and a comprehensive set of new services already being delivered, an important support resource that’s only available to south west-based rural businesses is experiencing ever-growing levels of interest from the region’s agricultural and land-based businesses.
The South West Rural Enterprise Gateway (REG) is a special project that has helped many such businesses develop and adapt to change since it was first launched in 2004, including over 2,700 in the last year alone.
REG is now delivered across the region by Business Link and funded by the Rural Development Programme for England and the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA). Today, its services include a 1-to-1 business review, special support for groups of collaborating businesses, comprehensive technical and business information and advice and, most recently, help in attracting funding (most particularly from RDPE itself).
As more and more farmers and rural businesses take advantage of the benefits provided by the service, REG Project Manager David Hynd says the number of new enterprises signing up for similar support is accelerating fast.
“Of course it’s very much a case of word of mouth” he said. “But, as south west farmers and other rural businesses see for themselves how similar enterprises in the county are benefiting from this unique support, so the number of enquiries we are receiving about our new service portfolio continues to climb.
For example, we have already delivered REG 1to1 support to well over 400 farming businesses, and more than 300 others are being taken forward for streamlined RDPE support thanks to the help we have been able to give them.”
Hynd believes REG gives the region’s rural businesses a genuine edge over their competitors elsewhere in the UK and overseas. He added: “Long before the current economic difficulties emerged, it was recognised that the importance of rural businesses to the south west economy made them a special case for help in finding the support that would help them flourish in a bewilderingly fast-moving world.
“That’s what REG is all about – an easy-to-use, single point of contact that helps rural businesses ensure they’re not missing out on all the information, one-to-one advice and consultancy, cutting-edge technical support and funding assistance that exists purely to help them.
“By making it fast and easy to find the accredited, high-quality support they need, we can help them spend more time actively doing what they’re here for – managing and developing their businesses. Now that we are all doing our best to cope with recession, it has never been more important that rural businesses throughout the south west region know about what dealing with REG can bring them.”