A quirky wedding venue, a micro bakery and a rights of way consultancy from Wales are all in with a chance of being named three of Britain’s best countryside-based firms after making the final stages of the Rural Business Awards 2017.
The Ceridwen Centre in the Teifi Valley, ET Landnet of Llanelli and Crwst of Pembrokeshire have been named one of five nationwide finalists in separate categories of the awards.
- Ceridwen is a finalist for Best Rural Tourism Business
- ET Landnet has been named for Best Rural Professional Services Business
- Crwst is up for Rural Entrepreneur of the Year
The awards, run in partnership with the CLA and Amazon, are the only UK-wide programme dedicated to showcasing the success of rural businesses. Now in their third year and with nearly three times as many entries as in 2016, they are split into 13 sections with one category winner also crowned overall Champion of Champions on the night.
“Congratulations to the Ceridwen Centre, Crwst and ET Landnet for being shortlisted for the awards this year,” said Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager, Amazon. “It was great to see a record number of fascinating and inspirational entries this year, all of which are a true testament to the creativity and talent of rural businesses. I wish the Ceridwen Centre, Crwst, ET Landnet and all the shortlisted companies the very best of luck for the awards night.”
Ceridwen Centre Ltd is an eco-minded holiday, course, retreat, event and wedding venue on a 40-acre organic farm in the Teifi Valley in West Wales. With the potential to accommodate more than 60 people in glamping accommodation including yurts, a Romany caravan, a double decker bus, eco pod, upcycled static caravans as well as converted traditional stone buildings, Ceridwen is licensed for wedding ceremonies in The Old Dairy and Green Oak Pagoda and holds receptions in a giant tipi, attracting more than 2000 people a year to Wales.
The farm is fully organic and still has 12 acres of oats, wildflower hay meadows and a small organic market garden growing veg for visitors and courses. Holders of the Gold Award for Best Sustainable Tourism Business in the Carmarthenshire Tourism awards for the last four years, Ceridwen’s owners greatly about the rural environment with energy demands served by biomass, solar thermal and solar PV. Employing up to 20 local staff, judges thought Ceridwen was an interesting, unique idea with “brilliant green credentials”.
Co-owner Simone Broome said,
“We’re a family business based on a very small organic farm here in darkest North Carmarthenshire. Traditionally this is a farming area with very little employment outside farming and with all the difficulties associated with farming in the 21st century. We entered the awards because we’re wholly committed to being and working where we are and we want to grow a sustainable business for future generations of our family and for the local community. We’re trying to do this with the lightest possible footprint we can. Being recognised for an award like this which is rooted in rural values would mean a great deal to us, and would both boost our profile and would be a reward and a stimulus to our fabulous, enthusiastic team. And, of course, as my rather irreverent spouse has already said, it would be a very effective investment of £50 for our little business!”
ET Landnet Ltd is a leading consultancy specialising in Rights of Way, advising and representing landowners throughout England and Wales. Based in Llanelli, it offers legal and technical expertise, dealing with everything from footpath and bridleway diversions to modification orders and challenging path claims as well as public inquiries, representation cases and advice on gates, stiles, surfaces and structures.
ET Landnet understands that managing public access to land is a significant issue for landowners and is there to help. Judges thought ET Landnet was a highly specialised business giving a level of expertise for its rural clients.
Michael Wood, director of ET Landnet, said:
“Whilst there seem to be many awards platforms at which business may gather, the focus on those specifically working in the rural economy seemed to be absent until the creation of the Rural Business Awards. We have watched the development of the awards and have previously thought of entering but as a small consultancy, we worried whether we were too small and too niche. Well this year, rather than thinking, we are doing and we hope to be proved wrong! To win the award for best Rural Professional Services would be fantastic. It would be the recognition that what we do is to a very high standard and has real value to our clients and makes a positive impact on their lives in the rural community. It would highlight the benefits to landowners of engaging small specialist consultancies to handle intricate issues to achieve positive, cost effective results.”
Crwst is a micro-bakery based in Pembrokeshire at a home kitchen. Co-owners Catrin and Osian Jones produce handmade real bread and seasonal bakes all from home, with the aim of bringing London’s modern and trendy bakes to rural West Wales. Crwst supplies up to 10 local businesses in the area and uses local produce in the bakes, for example: Pembrokeshire Sea Salt. The couple grow vegetables used in bakes and uses online tools such as social media to promote the business.The whole concept of Crwst impressed judges, who felt Catrin and Osian showed vision and ambition for their relatively young business.
The RBAs are the brainchild of Leicestershire businesswomen Anna Price and Jemma Clifford, who wanted to showcase the wealth of entrepreneurial talent in rural areas of Britain – a sector of the economy they felt was all-too-often overlooked in favour of large city-based firms.
The awards are organised by rural businesses for rural businesses and judged by people who understand the rural sector, which is growing rapidly and employs in excess of 3.4 million people in more than 600,000 businesses across the UK.
Awards co-founder Anna Price said:
“The Rural Business Awards gives rural enterprises of all sizes the opportunity to showcase their success and the contribution they are making to our thriving rural economy – just the firms that have entered in 2017 have combined turnovers well in excess of £70m.
“Tourism is such a vital part of the British rural economy, with businesses the length of Isles helping the whole country flourish by encouraging visitors to enjoy our glorious, green, diverse rural scenery. This was the most popular category of our awards this year and we really have seen some stunning entries, from a range of business which demonstrated not only strong financials but a deep commitment to things that really matter: accessibility and the environment. When it comes to entrepreneurship, this may be traditionally associated with the bright lights of our big cities, but the truth is that business acumen is alive and well in the Great British countryside too.
“As for professional services, it’s a broad term covering a highly diverse range of businesses, and we’ve certainly seen that diversity reflected in the entries we received in this very important category of our awards. From lawyers to rights of way experts, each of our finalists demonstrates an expertise in their field that is really impressive. Often professional services businesses are the unsung heroes of the countryside – those businesses whose staff live and breathe the rural life and whose quiet skills provide the backbone on which so much of our countryside economy is based. Without rural expert lawyers, accountants, computer firms and other businesses like this, rural life would be severely impacted. They’re so important that at last year’s awards we judged the winner in this category our overall Champion of Champions. Will it be the same this year?””
Helen Woolley, director general of the CLA, said:
“Each of these outstanding rural businesses deserves a place in the final. They have shown great expertise in their field and have a real understanding of how their business fits into the rural economy. I wish each and every one good luck at the awards ceremony in October.”
This year’s glittering awards ceremony will be held at Denbies Wine Estates in Surrey on October 5.
Find out more via social media on:
- T: @RuralRBAs
- F: The Rural Business Awards
- Keep up with the Twitter chatter and use #RBAs
The five finalists for Best Rural Tourism Business:
- Hoe Grange Holidays, based in Matlock, Derbyshire
- Barleylands Farm Park and Craft Village, based in Billericay, Essex
- The Rookery, based in Roughlee, Lancashire
- Ceridwen Centre Ltd, based in Llandysul, Carmarthenshire
- Humble Bee Leisure, based in Scarborough, North Yorkshire
The finalists for Best Rural Professional Services Business:
- McCartneys LLP, based in Ludlow, Shropshire
- Greenway Training, based in Lyneham, Wiltshire
- Roythornes Limited, based in Spalding, Lincolnshire
- ET Landnet Ltd, based in Cefneithin, Llanelli
- Appetite Me, based in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
Rural Entrepreneur of the year:
- Iscoyd Park LLP, based in Whitchurch, Shropshire
- Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park, based in Chelmsford, Essex
- Williams Automobiles Ltd, based in Chipping Sodbury, Avon
- Crwst, based in Boncath, Pembrokeshire
- Holdsworth PR, based in Washington, West Sussex
Our full category list is:
- Best Rural Start-up
- Outstanding Rural Diversification Project
- Best Rural Clothing or Accessories Business
- Rural Innovation of the year
- Best Rural Manufacturing Business
- Best Rural Professional Services Business
- Best Rural Creative or Media based Business
- Social enterprise / community project of the year
- Best Rural Tourism Business
- Best Rural Sporting Business
- Rural Employer of the year
- Rural Entrepreneur of the year
- Best Food & Drink Business
For a full list of finalists in each category visit: www.ruralbusinessawards.co.uk