Engaging Rural Micros (ERM) project

Project background

A research project has been launched which offers a new opportunity for rural micro businesses (businesses with fewer than 10 employees) and sole traders to voice their opinions and help design future support programmes.

Rural micro businesses in north and mid Devon are invited to voice their opinions and have their business needs heard by taking part in surveys, focus groups, detailed case studies, and more.

The research will gather evidence to better understand the needs of rural micro businesses, how to increase their access to mainstream support and address the impact of personal life on business productivity.

The findings of the project will inform future support programmes through the design of a new basic business support trial to help prepare businesses to embrace development opportunities. The trial could enable them to confidently take advantage of mainstream business support and use their time and resources more effectively to increase profitability and productivity.

In Devon, micro businesses make up over 90% of the rural economy. We want to support our rural businesses and business owners to employ new staff, grow their profits, develop their digital awareness and more, to benefit the Devon economy as a whole.

The ERM project will initially look to engage with over 100 micro businesses, targeting the Mid Devon and North Devon districts.

We are particularly interested in hearing from manufacturers, health and social care businesses, trades (such as lifestyle businesses, construction, and market traders) and the tourism sector.

There are lots of ways that you can get involved, ranging from a two-minute questionnaire, to a whole day discussing your needs and helping to design a support programme that’s right for you.

If you are a micro business or sole trader in one of the four sectors outlined above, the project team would love to hear from you!

Businesses taking part in the research will have the opportunity to express an interest in taking part in the business support trial.

Want to know more? View our Frequently Asked Questions.

Contact us

If you would like to know more about the ERM project or how to take part:

  • Call us on 01392 380753 to find out more and chat with the team.
  • Email us about taking part in questionnaires, business case studies, and focus groups.

Visit us

Each week we are visiting North and Mid Devon to find out what matters most to you and your business.

Follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page to stay up-to-date with our whereabouts as we visit local market towns, industrial parks and business hotspots near you – and then drop by for a coffee and a chat!