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Rural Enterprise Exmoor

Understanding and supporting Exmoor's rural economy and links to the National Park.

The Rural Enterprise Exmoor initiative was launched in the autumn of 2019  to map and review current business activities across the moor and to gain a wide range of views from businesses around the challenges they face and future opportunities. This evidence will be used in developing a revised economic model for Exmoor identifying strategic priorities, principles and opportunities to support the Exmoor economy in line with the area’s designation as a National Park, ensuring local business views are represented.

Next steps - January 2021

We are delighted to be embarking on the next step of the journey, working with businesses and other stakeholders to develop a vision for Exmoor's rural economy. The vision will help us to articulate our Principles, Priorities and Propositions for supporting Exmoor's economy in harmony with our National Park status. It will be used to guide not only the work of the National Park Authority over  the coming years, but also to feed into the work of our partners who have a more significant remit in terms of economic development. It will ensure Exmoors needs and opportunities are well known and accounted for.

We are supported by a team of professional practitioners in a consortium led by Simon Hooton of Ash Futures who will guide the development of the vision and further details about how you can get involved will be posted here soon.

We also welcome Kerrie Wilson as our Business Engagement Facilitator. Kerrie will be the 'face' of the project over the next 6 months working approximately 2 days a week. She will be a key link between local businesses and project partners. As well as supporting the engagement of businesses in developing our vision Kerrie will also be setting up and signposting to opportunities for businesses networking, training and support specific to the needs of Exmoor businesses. In addition Kerrie will be encouraging greater use of the Exmoor brand by local businesses and coordinating a celebration of Exmoor's rural businesses on social media. Do follow and engage with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @RuralEntExmoor. There is also a closed facebook group that businesses can join to share and interact with each other.

Local businesses wishing to get involved can can contact Kerrie, Business Engagement Facilitator via email at RuralEnterpriseExmoor@outlook.com.

For further project queries please contact Dan James, Sustainable Economy Manager at Exmoor National Park at RuralEnterprise@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk.

Research Report - June 2020

Next steps

The research completed to date will feed into phase two of the project , scheduled for winter 2020 to focus on the way ahead considering both Covid-19 recovery and future opportunities.

Background

Anecdotal evidence suggested that national datasets underestimated the breadth and depth of business activity undertaken on Exmoor due to utilizing VAT And PAYE registrations and thus overlooking sole traders and many micro businesses that dominate our rural economy.

The research for Rural Enterprise Exmoor aimed to map the true extent of business activity and to engage with a range of these micro-businesses who have chosen to operate within Exmoor to report their views.

The initial research element of the project was undertaken by Wavehill,an independent research organisation.

The project is supported and funded by the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, West Somerset Opportunity Area, Somerset County Council, Somerset West and Taunton Council, Devon County Council and North Devon Council.