Nine companies from Kent are in the running to be named the best rural businesses in the UK after being shortlisted for a regional Rural Business Award. 

The companies are:

·       Paddlesworth Produce from Folkestone – Best Rural Start Up Business and Best Rural Food or Drink Business

·       The Oak Barn at Frame Farm from Benenden – Best Rural Start Up Business and Best Rural Diversification Project

·       Clear Sky Glamping from Tonbridge – Best Rural Diversification Project

·       Romney Marsh Shepherds Huts from Aldington – Best Rural Diversification Project

·       St Pierre Contractors from Hever – Best Rural Professional Services Business

·       Romney Marsh Wools from Aldington – Best Rural Creative, Artisan or Crafts Business

·       Barham Village Store from Barham – Best Rural Social Enterprise, Charity or Community Project

·       The Ash Project from Shoreham – Best Rural Social Enterprise, Charity or Community Project

·       Wheatfields Glamping from Appledore – Best Rural Tourism Business

They will battle it out against fellow rural businesses, entrepreneurs and enterprises from across the region for a place at the national final. The regional final will be held at Canterbury Cathedral Lodge on Friday 18th October, with the National Final taking place early next year. 

The Rural Business Awards 2019/2020, in partnership with Amazon, will mark the Awards’ fifth year of celebrating the success of businesses across the UK’s rural economy – a segment which employs in excess of 3.4 million people in over 750,000 businesses in England alone. The Awards are organised by rural business for rural business with the aim of celebrating the achievements of rural businesses and developing a strong network for rural business owners. 

Speaking after being shortlisted for an award Kristina Boulden from Romney Marsh Wools said: 

“It’s fantastic to be shortlisted for such a prestigious award. The Rural Business Awards are the Oscars of the rural community and being shortlisted for an Award at this year’s event is a huge boost for everyone in our business. I think it’s great that Amazon shines a spotlight on the rural community through these awards and we’re all really excited to attend the ceremony later in the year.”

“Amazon has proudly supported the Rural Business Awards since 2016 and each year, the quality of the entries gets better and better,” said Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager, Amazon. “I’d like to congratulate the businesses from Kent and wish them and their regional peers the best of luck on the Awards night.”

Director and Co-Founder of The Rural Business Awards, Anna Price, added: “The 2019/2020 Awards have seen record numbers of entries and it’s encouraging to see so many rural businesses express a desire to celebrate their successes on a regional and national scale. We are passionate about creating a nurturing environment where rural businesses can develop, and this starts by showcasing the great work they do. On behalf of everyone at the Rural Business Awards, we want to say well done to all the shortlisted businesses and wish them luck ahead of the regional finals.” 

The Rural Business Awards is the brainchild of Leicestershire businesswomen Anna Price and Jemma Clifford, who wanted to showcase the wealth of entrepreneurial talent in rural areas of Britain. 

The Awards are organised by rural business for rural business, with winners in the 12 categories – ranging from Best Rural Start-up and Best Rural Diversification Project; through to Best Rural Professional Services Business and Best Rural Social Enterprise, Charity or Community Project – decided by an independent panel of judges drawn from the rural business sector, rural public sector agencies, and rural charitable organisations. 

The Rural Business Awards is hosting a series of regional finals in the North, East, Midlands, South East, South West, Wales and Northern Ireland, throughout October and November 2019, ahead of the National Final next February. 

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