Engaging Rural Micros for increased productivity

Lead Participant: Devon County Council


"This project will use a variety of methodologies to test assumptions, anecdotal evidence and theories around the most effective interventions for increasing productivity in rural micro enterprises, which make up over 90% of Devon's rural economy. We will use the results to devise a trial for delivering the intervention designed through this process, which will then be the subject of a further funding bid.

We will use our own and partners' previous experience and other research to encapsulate good practice in business support and funding delivery. We want to understand why rural micros are hard to engage; what their drivers and barriers are; and what we can do to make it easier and less daunting for them to increase productivity. Often businesses have far more work than they can cope with so how can we help them to convert this market potential to productivity? From experience, we think that rural micro's may need support at a much more basic level to enable them to get past their barriers to change and taking up opportunities such as: support, funding, modern business practices; time to consider new ways of working; technologies and apprenticeships.

Our Business Support & Innovation Team is based with Trading Standards in an Innovative and award winning new structure, as well as undertaking market support on behalf of our adult social care colleagues. We want to utilise the experience of TS colleagues who have daily contact with these types of business to really understand how we can best support rural micros.

The SW Rural Productivity report 2017 states that Devon's economy has four overrepresented sectors, less productive than the national average and dominated by hard to reach micro's which don't engage with support. These will comprise our test sectors:

* Micro Manufacturers
* Micro aligned trades (e.g. construction, market traders, lifestyle businesses)
* Micro Tourism including: accommodation, food and retail
* Micro Health / Social Care businesses

We will use a combination of research and review; personal and digital surveys; focus groups and in-depth case studies to understand how rural micros work and test our assumptions and theories. We will then devise an intervention with informal partners, which utilises what we have learned to design the most effective intervention to increase productivity in rural micros and their take up of a variety of practice, technology, support and funding. It is hoped that we can big again to business basics to trial this intervention."

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Devon County Council £58,483 £ 58,483


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