BUSINESSES in County Durham have until the end of next week to enter the prestigious Rural Business Awards.

The awards, backed by Amazon, is the only UK-wide programme dedicated to showcasing the success of rural businesses

Entries, which close on June 7, are free for the first time in the award’s five-year history

The Rural Business Awards 2019, backed by Amazon, marks its fifth year of celebrating the success of businesses across the UK’s rural economy – a segment which employs in excess of 3.4 million people in over 750,000 businesses in England alone.

Durham Hens from Bishop Auckland was named the Best Rural Retail Business at the national final of the 2018 Rural Business Awards and is calling on other local businesses to enter this year’s awards.

Speaking after picking up an Award last year, Managing Director of Durham Hens, Margaret Manchester, said:

“I was honoured to win the prestigious award. It was a lovely surprise to do so well in the North awards, so I couldn’t quite believe we were recognised again as one of the best rural businesses in the whole of the UK! Durham Hens has grown from small beginnings to be one of the largest suppliers of egg-laying hens in the country, and I am immensely proud of all we have achieved.”

The Awards are organised by rural business for rural business with the aim of celebrating the achievements of rural businesses and developing a strong network for rural business owners.

There are 11 categories businesses can enter, ranging from Best Rural Start-Up Business and Best Rural Diversification Project; through to Best Rural Professional Services Business and Rural Young Person of the Year.

Those shortlisted will compete first in the regional finals, which will take place in the North, East, Midlands, South East, South West and Wales and Northern Ireland in October and November 2019. The Grand Final takes place early next year, where winners from the regional heats will compete for the national titles.

“The Rural Business Awards shines a spotlight on the innovators, creators and entrepreneurs in rural communities across the UK,” said Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager, Amazon. “The awards provide a great opportunity for local businesses to showcase their excellent talents and I’d encourage all businesses in Durham to enter before 7th June.”

Director and Co-Founder of The Rural Business Awards, Anna Price, added: “Growing the Rural Business Awards has been a privilege and it’s exciting to see first-hand the difference winning a RBA can make to a rural business. We would encourage every rural business across the country to submit an entry and take the opportunity to showcase their work on a national scale.”

For the first time since launching in 2014, the Rural Business Awards will be free to enter. Winners are decided by an independent panel of judges drawn from the rural business sector, rural public sector agencies, and rural charitable organisations.

The Rural Business Awards Grand Final will take place on February 27, 2020. Rural businesses can submit their award entries for any of the 11 categories via: