The data, from around 1,300 rural businesses, was collected by the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub, the Warwickshire Rural Hub and Warwickshire County Council.
The results of the survey showed that 69 percent of the rural businesses are undertaking innovation in their business and 58 percent are exploring new markets. For example, rural food businesses and cafes refocused to offer takeaway and delivery services or supporting community projects. Likewise, the rural manufacturing industry has stepped up to support with the manufacture of PPE when it was most needed.
The survey outcome also showed that the top three areas of requested support were for financial support and advice, easy to access information and access to insurance advice. These were closely followed by links into local businesses, support with succession planning and help with mental health and wellbeing.
The top three areas for how COVID-19 has impacted rural businesses were loss of income, a complete halt to trading and closure of usual trading premises.
Other areas of concern were reduced access to customers abroad and in the UK and less productivity. Since March, a third of the Growth Hub’s business engagements have been with businesses based in rural postcodes, with most working in manufacturing, ranging from food and drink to traditional craft including carpentry and weaving.
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