Campaign urges East Lancashire farmers to diversify

A BUSINESS bus dedicated to kick-starting small firms is coming to a holistic farm near Blackburn-with-Darwen which got £18,000 of launch support from Regenerate Pennine Lancashire.

The cash grant helped The Wellbeing Farm to grow into a successful business providing a venue for relaxing corporate away days and team building.

The once-derelict complex hosts children’s parties and lifestyle courses, created by the conversion of a redundant barn and stable block with the help of the funding.

Also on offer are basket making, llama trekking, archery, holistic therapy, butchery and an artisan cooking school with the aid of further support from Rural Development for England funding.

The StartUp Britain campaign bus is in Edgworth as part of the Lancashire leg of a tour to persuade other farmers and rural residents to launch new businesses.

It comes as new figures show that 484,211 started businesses in UK last year, a record number the StartUp Britain campaign wants to boost to 500,000 businesses set up in 2013. They also demonstrate that micro businesses account for 20 per cent private sector turnover providing employment for 7.8 million people.

The statistical analysis shows that small businesses that get support do better. The campaign’s double decker bus will be at The Wellbeing Farm in Edgworth, Bolton on July 30 from 5pm filled with start-up experts and business champions ready to deliver free help and support.

StartUp Britain co-founder Emma Jones said: “Since we launched StartUp Britain two years ago, we’ve seen record numbers of people starting businesses.

“By bringing our bus to a rural area, we want to give rural areas the confidence to find their inner entrepreneur.”

Wellbeing Farm managing director Celia Gaze said: “It is great that StartUp Britain have taken the rural economy into account.

“Being a new business which only started trading in March 2013, I am hoping that by having the bus in a rural area it will encourage farmers to consider being rural entrepreneurs.”

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