The winners of this year’s Rural Business Awards have been announced, celebrating the triumphs of businesses operating in the UK’s rural economy – from accessible holiday trips for those with disabilities, to environmentally friendly packaging.

In England alone, the rural economy contributes to nearly one fifth of the country’s total economic activity.

Co-founded by rural-based businesswomen Jemma Clifford and Anna Price in order to celebrate these contributions, the Rural Business Awards are backed by Amazon and judged by an independent panel drawn from the rural business sector, rural public sector agencies, and rural charitable organisations.

This year’s event was held online for the first time, and the virtual ceremony recognised the restrictions that rural businesses have faced over the last year. This year, six businesses were also presented with the ‘Triumph Over Adversity’ award in recognition of their work in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Presented by Countryfile broadcaster Jules Hudson, the ceremony is now available for playback on the RBA Facebook page and the RBA YouTube Channel.

It’s an honour to support the Rural Business Awards’ efforts to showcase the incredible talent of British rural business.
John Boumphrey, UK Country Manager, Amazon

‘Triumph Over Adversity’

Reflecting the challenges of the past year, the ‘Triumph Over Adversity’ award was presented to all six shortlisted businesses for the first time. These founders have overcome both professional and personal challenges of their own during their business journey.

One ‘Triumph over Adversity’ award winner is the Tiny Box Company, also the runner-up in the Best Rural Retail Business category.

Tiny Box Company’s founder and Managing Director Rachel Watkyn has overcome multiple setbacks and is now determined to help other small businesses excel. She created the Tiny Box Company after identifying a gap in the market for environmentally friendly packaging when looking for options to fit her own range of ethical and fair-trade jewellery.

Although Rachel’s business plan secured backing on the BBC programme Dragon’s Den, she has also battled through monumental challenges, including a warehouse fire, a flood and hacker activity – and of course the coronavirus pandemic – all while growing the business.

“The past year has been especially difficult for businesses, so to receive this award means the absolute world to our Tiny Team,” said Rachel. “I want the success of Tiny Box Company to be a glimmer of hope for anyone who is currently struggling or has struggled in the past – better days are on the horizon! Thank you, Rural Business Awards and Amazon.”The joint ‘Triumph over Adversity’ award-winners are:

Meet the category winners

This year saw twelve category winners announced, including a new Sustainability and Environmental Impact Award category. Following a record number of entrants and a competitive shortlist process, winners came from a range of sectors and regions, including:

Shell Out to Help Out St Ewe Eggs
St Ewe Free Range Eggs, winner of Best Rural Food Business Award, running 'Shell Out To Help Out'

  • Accessible Holiday Escapes, Flintshire: dedicated to offering quality accessible holiday accommodation for people living with disabilities in the UK

  • Romney Marsh Wools, Kent: a homewares and clothing business raising awareness of the benefits of wool, selling their flock’s produce from their farm and reaching customers further afield via Amazon

  • Abberton Rural Training, Essex: providers of accessible courses in rural skills for vulnerable and isolated groups, including those living with disabilities and former service personnel

  • St Ewe Free Range Eggs, Cornwall: a multi-award winning free-range egg producer and packer who promotes a passion for welfare and an obsession with good food and nutrition

Jemma Clifford, Director and Co-Founder of the Rural Business Awards, said: “The last year has been tough for all rural businesses, but we remain amazed at the high calibre of entries to the RBAs and this has certainly continued in the 2020/21 year.”

“The judges had a real challenge on their hands when picking the winners and every business shortlisted should be very proud of their achievement in reaching the National Final. Our winners have all shown great determination and have bright futures ahead. On behalf of everyone at the Rural Business Awards, we congratulate them all.”

The full list of this year’s awards and winners can be found on the Rural Business Awards website.

Find out more: Empowering Small Business