GrowBiz Urges More Support For Rural Businesses During COVID-19 Crisis

GrowBiz, the Perthshire based rural enterprise support organisation, has voiced concerns over the disproportionate impact which the COVID-19 outbreak will have on Scotland’s rural businesses.

Nearly 25% of adults in rural Scotland are self-employed, more than twice the rate of urban areas. The lack of financial help, to date, for the self-employed is already having a disproportionate impact on the rural economy, which also faces other challenges such as inconsistent broadband coverage, poor transport links and greater distances to food supplies and health services.

GrowBiz CEO, Jackie Brierton said: “The spread of COVID-19 presents enormous challenges for businesses across Scotland and especially for small and micro-businesses in rural Scotland. Rural business contribute £37billion to Scottish GVA every year and in any small Scottish town or village, many retailers are sole traders, as are essential tradespeople, café owners, independent hoteliers, fishermen, fitness instructors, childminders and so on. The list of trades and professions who are self employed in rural areas is considerable.

She continued; “The support package announced by the Chancellor on Thursday for these business owners and the self-employed is obviously welcome. But it’s not going to prevent serious financial hardship for many individuals and their families in rural areas. With a delay until June for any payments to be made, many will struggle to survive. And those who have only recently started a business, and haven’t yet completed a self-assessment return will have to use the benefits system.


“Local economies and communities in rural areas are absolutely dependent on the army of sole traders and self-employed in every sector and we hope that every effort will be made to support them through this period. Self-employed people contribute billions of pounds into the UK economy through tax, national insurance and VAT payments and they also support other self-employed people as contractors, suppliers and customers. They are an essential part of our economy and adequate support needs to be delivered in a timely fashion.”

The team of experienced enterprise advisers at GrowBiz is currently providing phone and online support to anyone who is self-employed, or running a small or micro-business in rural areas of Scotland.

In addition, GrowBiz is running a programme of online learning sessions and networking events for the rest of March and into April, open to anyone looking for support.

Jackie Brierton commented; “GrowBiz is here to help rural businesses think through alternative strategies and different ways to reach their markets – and provide information on funding. We can also signpost to other sources of assistance. Our aim is to help anyone who is self-employed or running a small or micro-business in a rural area to get through the next few months.

“We are offering a direct, human connection with one of the GrowBiz team, and a working relationship that will continue in the weeks and months to come. No matter where you are based or what sector you’re in, we can organise a personal phone call or online session to help you address any challenges, or identify new opportunities, in these incredibly uncertain times.”

For further information on how to access support from GrowBiz or to speak with a member of GrowBiz team, please visit or email [email protected].