County Durham-based farmer Jo Martin founded the Rural Business Network earlier this year.
Jane Imrie

Boost for rural businesses as North East-founded network secures first ‘major’ sponsor

A North East law firm has become the first ‘major’ sponsor for a new business network aiming to support rural firms across the UK.

Hay & Kilner have announced a new sponsorship deal with the Rural Business Network to support the growth of rural industries.

Founded earlier this year by County Durham-based farmer Jo Martin, Rural Business Network was established to support a range of businesses, including farmers who are considering diversifying, as well as food & drink, tourism and creative enterprises.

The network aims to provide practical support, advice and inspiration for businesses looking to grow and pivot. As a result of the partnership with Hay & Kilner, the network will also provide online legal clinics, regular legal updates on key rural issues and a dedicated legal hotline.

Jo Martin commented: “The aim of Rural Business Network is to provide online knowledge events to share best practice and develop new opportunities for rural businesses to thrive, and I’m excited by the progress that’s been made in just a few short months.

“The reception I’ve had from the rural business community has been extremely enthusiastic, with members joining from right across the country, and I’ve got a lot of plans in place to enhance and expand what Rural Business Network can offer.

“Hay & Kilner have been really keen to get involved and it’s great to have such a well-established and respected law firm as a sponsor and member.”

Alison Hall, partner and head of the specialist agricultural & rural team at Hay & Kilner, adds: “We already work with a wide range of rural and agricultural businesses both across and outside the North East, and there’s a clear synergy between our expertise and the needs of the Rural Business Network’s members.

“Rural and agricultural businesses can face particularly complex situations when it comes to things like succession planning, investment and diversification, and the services we’re developing for Rural Business Network members will help them identify the best ways to address them.

“Jo has taken a very far-sighted look at the needs of rural and agricultural business communities and have developed something that’s going to make a big positive impact on how they can manage their operational needs.”

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