Forest Holidays and The Prince’s Countryside Fund invite applications to annual £5,000 Rural Start-Up Fund

September 23, 2021

Forest Holidays and The Prince’s Countryside Fund are inviting applications to their Rural Start-Up Fund, which supports entrepreneurs and start-up businesses based in the British countryside.

The Prince’s Countryside Fund was set up in 2010 by HRH The Prince of Wales with the aim of supporting sustainable rural economies. This is why Forest Holidays has teamed up with The Prince’s Countryside Fund to create the Rural Start-Up Fund, an exciting opportunity for rural businesses to receive financial support as they embark on a new business venture. A total of £5,000 is available in the Rural Start-Up Fund in 2021, to be awarded to one winning business or shared between a number of rural startups.

Sophie Willingale, Rural Start-Up Fund winner for 2020, said: “The grant has made a real difference to me this year and allowed me to develop the business in a way we definitely couldn’t have without it. A lot of time and energy has gone into renewing the vineyard, and in particular diversifying the business to enable large tour groups to visit – certainly challenging during the pandemic!

“Aside from the funding, the mentoring support has been invaluable – it’s been incredible having access to such a wealth of knowledge and such enthusiastic, positive individuals backing me who genuinely seem to care about the business. I would encourage everyone to apply!”

Samantha Rowley, Head of Retail and F&B Operations at Forest Holidays said: “Playing an active part in the life of the villages and towns surrounding our locations has always been extremely important to us, but we still want to do more to help build a sustainable future for the rural economy. Inevitably, one of the biggest barriers to setting up a new business is the initial financial commitment and business support needed. Our new start-up grant programme aims to give entrepreneurs and start-up businesses the help required to overcome these initial challenges to grow their business locally.”

Applicants must be 18 or over, and embarking on a rural business venture. They must be able to demonstrate how their business will, in some manner, support rural communities, promote conservation of the countryside, or support rural sustainability. 

Find out more and apply