Engaging Rural Micros – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I take part?

To take part, contact us .

Who can take part?

Anyone may take part, but the target research group for the Engaging Rural Micros project is:

  • Rural businesses
  • Micro businesses and sole traders
  • In the following sectors:
    • Manufacturing (such as chocolatiers, crafts, parts manufacturers, toymakers, etc.)
    • Aligned trades (such as hairdressers, painters, jewelers, carpenters etc.)
    • Tourism (including food, accommodation and retail)
    • Health and social care (including pharmaceuticals, care homes, medical technology etc.)

I employ more than 10 people – can I take part?


Although our target research group is micro business with less than 10 employees, we are interested in hearing from you! We may also be able to signpost you to other research, trial, or business support opportunities you may be interested in.

My business isn’t in one of the 4 sectors mentioned – can I take part?


Although our target research group covers four very broad sectors (manufacturers, tourism, trades, health and social care). You may fit into one of these without realising and we would love to speak to you! Even if your business lies outside of these sectors you can still take part. We may also be able to signpost you to other research, trial, or business support opportunities you may be interested in.

My business isn’t in Mid Devon or North Devon – can I take part?


Businesses in the Mid and North Devon districts are the target for this study, but we are interested in hearing from all businesses in all Devon districts! We would advise you to get in touch  with the project team to chat about what you can take part in, especially if your business is rural or micro. We may also be able to signpost you to other research, trial, or business support opportunities you may be interested in.

Will I/my organisation receive business support?

No, this project does not offer business support to participants, but it will take into account your suggestions and feedback for the design of future programmes, specifically, the design of a trial programme of business support which you may wish to express an interest to take part in. Focus group participants will also receive a free business support pack containing some essential business support materials.

Can I take part in the trial?

Trial participants will be selected at random. This may however include a number of businesses who expressed an interest in the research stage. If you would like to be a participant in any future business support programme trials resulting from the Engaging Rural Micros research project, please let us know, so we can arrange for your contact details to be kept securely for this purpose.

Is there an application process?

No, there is no application process. As Engaging Rural Micros is not a support programme, any business of the right size, geography and sector can take part without application. We only want to hear your views and ideas.

Will I be paid for taking part in research?

No, unfortunately we cannot pay our participants for taking part, but some businesses may be offered incentives for taking part. Remember, all participants will benefit from the project by getting their business and personal needs heard, so that future programmes are accessible for them, and able to offer the right support for their organisation.

For taking part in a face to face detailed chat or case study, participants may receive a drink or snack as a ‘thank you’.

Businesses and sole traders taking part in focus groups will have refreshments and lunch provided on the day of the focus group. They will also receive a free ‘business support pack’ containing essential support and advice materials designed to help you assess your support needs, and take the first step towards accessing mainstream business support programmes.

What will the survey be about?

The survey will cover a range of topics based around your business needs and how we can better support rural businesses like yours. The survey will help us to understand more about the decisions and pressures on micro business owners and the key challenges they face including what makes some businesses flourish while others fail? The driver behind being your own boss is a strong one; but what helps or would help your business to grow and develop, particularly in tough times and Brexit uncertainty.

Why are you collecting this information?

We are collecting information to ensure that future business support in Devon provides what Devon businesses need. 80% of businesses in Devon are Micro in size, so we want to understand the needs of micro businesses. This includes what stops them from becoming more productive and finding out how they would like to be supported by the council, trading standards, and business support providers. We are asking businesses to voice their opinions, so we can design programmes tailored to them. We also want to know how best to engage with businesses and what platforms they use to get information. This will enable us to reach out to offer advice, support and grants in the most suitable way – using newspapers, emails, social media, and any other preferred communication methods!

If you would like to know more about data protection and what your data will be used for, please read our full privacy notice.

How much time will the case study take?

The case study will take up to 12 hours of your time, and in most cases less. This will be  spaced out over a week or more, through a variety of surveys, phone calls, face to face meetings and email communications. You can let us know your preferred communication methods, how much time you have, and schedule times that are convenient for you. We appreciate that business owners are busy people so we will not take more time than is necessary!

What will the focus groups involve?

The focus groups will aim to find out similar information as the surveys,  but offers an opportunity to tell us your needs in more detail, and in a variety of ways. The focus groups will be informal and include a variety of fun activities. You can tell us as much or as little as you like, share your learning and challenges with likeminded people, and get your needs heard in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

How much time will the focus group take?

The focus group will run for between half a day and one day. You may be required to give up some of your time prior to, or following the focus group, to undertake an initial survey or answer clarifying questions, but this will be minimal.

When will the focus groups take place?

The specific dates and times of focus groups are yet to be determined, but they will be scheduled at the most convenient time for the largest number of participants. We estimate that the focus groups will take place in March/April 2019.

Do all my employees need to take part?

No. We prefer for one business owner or shareholder per organisation to take part in the research project. For in-depth case studies, we may want to speak to some of your staff, or request testimonies, but this is not a requirement for your business taking part.