The Scottish Government has published findings from an evaluation of a pilot project providing a range of integrated, place based support to rural micro-enterprises.
The pilot project, delivered by Scottish enterprise agency GrowBiz, aimed to tackle a lack of outreach support, a lack of focus beyond agriculture and tourism and few networking opportunities. Challenges associated with Covid19 meant that an aim to develop a Smart Village approach to networking and routes to market did not develop as planned.
At the heart of the findings are the benefits of a tailor-made, individual approach to supporting micro-enterprises in rural areas. This includes recognising the importance of the social dimension to business development in order to overcome isolation; creating a welcoming atmosphere for people just starting out; focusing on practical solutions to individual needs and looking to strengthen mutual support through a strong business community.
Participants gave clear indications that they perceive this sort of support as valuable, and in several cases find it preferable to other current methods for providing business support.
The evaluation can be read here.