Retail giant Amazon launches academy for UK’s rural SMEs

rural business

Amazon has announced a new academy dedicated to rural businesses, following a reported growth in small and medium-sized enterprises in the countryside.

The online retail giant announced the Amazon Academy following a consultation by Rural England and Scotland’s Rural College launched earlier this year on ‘Unlocking the Digital Potential of Rural Areas’.

Recent Government statistics report that over half a million (537,000) registered businesses are based in the rural areas of England alone, accounting for almost a quarter of all registered business in the country.

The announcement coincides with the release of new research revealing that rural small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who export forecast twice as much revenue growth and triple the jobs growth in the coming year compared to those who don’t export.

A new YouGov survey of SMEs from across the country found that over the next 12 months, rural SMEs who export forecast +2.1 per cent revenue growth and +0.9 per cent jobs growth, compared to +1.2 per cent revenue growth and +0.3 per cent jobs growth for rural SMEs than do not export.

‘Unlock digital potential’

“We’re seeing thousands of rural SMEs use Amazon to export and successfully grow their business, so it’s great to see the projected export revenue and jobs growth reflected more broadly in today’s findings,” said Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager, Amazon.

Amazon will be setting up the new academy at the Rural Entrepreneur Show in the Birmingham NEC on the 8th and 9th November.

“With our Amazon Academy at the Rural Entrepreneurs Show we hope to help unlock the digital potential for rural businesses, and additionally hear the challenges they face and the opportunities they see to feed into Rural England’s upcoming report,” Mr Gurr said.

Brian Wilson, Chair of Directors at independent think tank Rural England, said: “Our upcoming report looks at rural areas and how they can maximise growth and participation in the digital economy, so we welcome the opportunity to present our initial findings at the upcoming Amazon Academy.