£30,000 rural innovation award on offer

A £30,000 award is on offer to farmers, other individuals or companies with innovative ideas to help sustain the UK’s rural communities.

The funding is being offered by London-based investment management company Quilter Cheviot, which has launched a Dragon’s Den-style competition.

See also: Farm business tips from Farmers Weekly Award winners

The Quilter Cheviot Rural Innovation Programme aims to find people with exciting ideas that will inspire others and help improve life in rural communities.

The successful applicant must show how they will use the funding to make a significant contribution, helping those who live and work in the countryside.

Clear vision

They must be strong advocates for rural communities and passionate about the countryside – with a clear vision for their business or innovation.

Quilter Cheviot investment manager and farmer’s son Jonathan Raymond described the programme as similar to BBC television’s Dragon’s Den.

But the winning applicant won’t have to give up any equity in their business, he added.

“Access to the judges, as well as maybe our wider network, could be something they could think about in terms of getting their idea off the ground,” said Mr Raymond.

Start-up capital

“We are not expecting anything in return – it is about doing what we can to help and providing start-up capital to get them moving.”

A number of applications had already been received, added Mr Raymond.

“They look pretty good and we hope to receive many more, so that when we come to judge the entries later this year, we have lots of cracking ideas.”

Food and farming is the backbone of many rural communities, which are facing a great deal of change and uncertainty – especially in terms of technology.

“Rural connectivity remains a massive issue for a lot of areas – and anything we can do to reinvigorate the rural economy can only be a good thing,” said Mr Raymond.

For more details and to apply, visit the Quilter Cheviot Rural Innovation Programme. The deadline for applications is 6pm on Friday 6 September 2019.

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