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Rural Enterprise Solutions launched

New nationwide rural business network launched

An information and networking service aimed at connecting rural businesses to advice, guidance and each other is being launched by the University of Plymouth.

Rural Enterprise Solutions will be a free, nationwide support service designed to provide knowledge, key industry information and networking opportunities to enterprises in sectors such as farming, forestry and fisheries, horticulture, food and drink, tourism and renewable energy.

Set to be launched on 1 April, Rural Enterprise Solutions will draw upon support from university academics, government, industry and other appropriate sources to help companies to make sense of complex regulatory changes and developments.

Professor Julian Beer, Director of Research and Enterprise at the university, and Pro Vice-Chancellor, said: "The rural businesses of this country play a key role in their communities, but historically they have tended to work in isolation.

"The risk is that because the business environment can change so quickly and so dramatically - through policy and legislation, or developments in the energy and environment sectors - it places an onus on companies to stay abreast of so much complex information.

"With the launch of Rural Enterprise Solutions, the university is pulling together the expertise that will simplify that information and provide the support these crucial businesses need."

Among those services that the university will offer will be a range of workshops and seminars on topics requested by business members themselves. The team will also provide weekly email updates and targeted sector-based information. A supporting website - www.ruralenterprisesolutions.co.uk - will also been launched on 1st April.

Rural Enterprise Solutions complements the university's wider enterprise agenda in the South West, which includes its leading role in the Plymouth Science and Innovation Partnership, the management of the new Cornwall Innovation Centres, and its prominent role in both the HEFCE-funded internship programme and the Economic Challenge Investment Fund support.

"Our aim is to ensure that just because many rural businesses are geographically remote, that does not preclude them from being firmly embedded within a rich and nurturing knowledge support network," said Julian.

"We will be monitoring changes to the regulatory framework, legislation and policies, reporting on events and providing business-to-business and business-to-specialist networking opportunities and functions."

To register, or receive further information, please contact any member of the team:

Karen Murray, 01752 584965, email Karen.murray@plymouth.ac.uk
Jane Housley, 01752 584964, email jane.housley-jeive@plymouth.ac.uk
Paula Heath, 01752 584963, email p.heath@plymouth.ac.uk