New research project - Engaging Rural Micros

Are you a rural micro business or sole trader? Are you interested in shaping the future of business support? Then the Engaging Rural Micros project wants to work with you!

Working in rural Devon and the Exmoor and Blackdown Hills parts of Somerset, Engaging Rural Micros is a research trial to learn how to stimulate positive mindsets towards improving business efficiency.

Micro businesses, freelancers and sole traders (less than 10 employees) make up 90.1% of Devon’s rural economy*. Research suggests that there is a need for these rural micros to overcome their tendencies towards overworking, and increase time working on the business rather than in the business.

Are you a business owner who can relate to this? Is your dream to increase efficiency within your business, free up time, and reach that elusive ‘work-life balance’? Would you welcome the opportunity for some free business monitoring? Then you are encouraged to get involved in this new research trial.

"Rural micro businesses represent the backbone to our rural economy, and yet they are often the hardest for us to reach with business support to help them flourish," says Cllr Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council's Cabinet Member with responsibility for the economy. 

The trial will look at different ways of providing support to these businesses. All participating businesses will receive:

  • business monitoring for up to 12 months, completing three business analysis surveys over the course of the trial
  • a business insight report at the end of the project
  • information on the trial outcomes and future support
  • an invitation to an event at the end of the project, which will be a great networking opportunity for local businesses.

The trial will be based in rural areas of Devon and the Exmoor and Blackdown Hills areas of Somerset (outside of settlements with a population over 10,000).

If you are a micro business owner, freelancer or sole trader and would like to take part in the trial, sign up online at or contact before the end of December 2019.

*statistics excluding Exeter


Sign up to our newsletter to receive all the latest news and updates.