Practical support for rural entrepreneurs

Digby Chacksfield Eastern Enterprise Hub CEO (middle row fourth from the right), John Matthews chart

Digby Chacksfield Eastern Enterprise Hub CEO (middle row fourth from the right), John Matthews chartered accountant at Ensors (middle row second from the right) and the Grow Your Future Students. - Credit: Archant

The Eastern Enterprise Hub is encouraging rural start-ups in Suffolk to become more entrepreneurial through its new Grow Your Future Programme – a free course run in partnership with Suffolk County Council’s County Farms Estate and Easton & Otley College.

The programme, which launched on Tuesday, provides business support to Suffolk-based entrepreneurs who are using land within the county council’s farm estate to set up and run a rural enterprise. Sites are between 10 and 50 acres in size with suitable buildings available, and in some cases accommodation.

EEHub chief executive Digby Chacksfield said: “We are excited to be working with Suffolk County Council and Easton & Otley College to deliver a business support programme as part of the County Farms Estate initiative.

“The EEHub is providing enterprise support as well as links to valuable, local business contacts, whilst exploring the feasibility and sustainability of the rural entrepreneurs’ ideas.”

The Grow Your Future Programme is part of the County Farms Estate initiative, run by the county council and supported by the EEHub and Easton & Otley College, which is aimed at encouraging rural entrepreneurs to put forward business propositions based around agriculture or rural industries, and to take up a tenancy within the council’s farms estate.

James Gadd of Gadd Brothers Trees & Landscape, a student on the programme, said: “I really enjoyed my first day on the Grow Your Future Programme. I feel confident that it will provide me with a better understanding of business management and networking; I know this is an important part of attracting new customers. “Hearing from EEHub Fellows who have started at the bottom and are now successful business owners is very motivational. It’s great to hear about their past experiences.”

To find out more about the programme, visit