South West investment to create 1,100 jobs
A £2.9m government investment could create 1,100 new jobs in Devon and Somerset and boost the region's rural economy, according to farming minister Jim Paice.
Paice said the investment - the latest to be announced from his rural roadshow - would boost the region’s rural economy by around £58m.
Devon and Somerset is one of five regions to benefit from the Rural Growth Network, which was set-up to help rural areas overcome the barriers to economic growth, such as a shortage of business premises and poor broadband access.
As part of the roadshow, Paice visited the Earth Centre in Bicton where redundant farm buildings will be transformed into nine work sites. The redevelopments are part of 11 ‘enterprise hubs’ the Rural Growth Network will create in Somerset and Devon.
Each enterprise hub will provide one-to-one advice and support, dedicated mentoring, training, networking opportunities and access to good quality broadband.
The Devon and Somerset Rural Growth Network is expected to support more than 400 businesses as well as providing entrepreneurs with high quality work spaces to start up their companies.
Paice said: “There are particular challenges to running a business in a remote area. Too often problems like a shortage of work premises or the need to travel to a city for training are preventing entrepreneurs from realising their ambitions. The Rural Growth Network will take down these barriers to growth and create new business opportunities.
“I’ve heard about some really innovative work to create new jobs and sustainable growth in Devon and I’ve come on a rural roadshow to find out more. I will listen to advice from local businesses and communities about the kinds of steps that the Government should take as part of our drive to unlock the economic potential of rural areas and support thriving rural communities.”
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