New Rural Enterprise Centre Means Business

November 27, 2018

Rural med - 2018 opening

(From left to right – Faye Burrage, Jane Townsend, Digby Chacksfield, Mark Pendlington – all Easton and Otley College – with Lady Euston)

Some of the business leaders of tomorrow can create their empires of today thanks to the creation of a new centre called Rural Enterprise East.

The facility (that is located at the Otley campus of Easton and Otley College near Ipswich) was opened on Thursday 22 November 2018 by Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare Countess of Euston.

During the launch, Lady Euston, said, “What we have always needed is a centre of excellence that can nurture, encourage, train and mentor those who have exciting ideas for creating and growing a business. Rural Enterprise East is that place and we can be proud that it is a home grown UK first.”

The hub is being supported by businesses across the region including Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, MENTA and many other representatives from the farming and rural community.

Lady Euston continued, “You (Easton and Otley and partners) are sending out the message loud and clear, that this rural economy is open for business. In the months and years to come, Rural Enterprise East will be at the heart of creating new and exciting opportunities for people of all talents and abilities, and will help our rural economy to grow.”

Principal of the college, Jane Townsend, said, “We are extremely passionate and driven about doing what we believe is right for this region and we are so excited about opening Rural Enterprise East.

“This centre will support start- up businesses and offer them a chance to come to a central hub where they will get all the help they need to succeed.

“We will also be working with established businesses and the centre will be a place where those individuals and companies can share their ideas and experiences, create connections and be inspired by each other.

“Our students will receive crucial support from the hub as they prepare themselves for the workplace and we are keen to connect and support various rural social enterprise projects.”

Chair of governors, Mark Pendlington, said, “This hub – which is the first of its kind – will be a magnet for people to come to Rural Enterprise East, be inspired and connect with expertise and training.                                                                                                                                            

“The centre will bring business, education and the land based industries together. It will help businesses grow and support entrepreneurs and innovators in the rural economy.

“I believe that it is the creation of new businesses, and helping existing ones to grow, that can do so much to revitalise our rural communities and by opening Rural Enterprise East, we are sending out the message loud and clear, that our rural economy is open for business, and that people of all talents and abilities are welcome to come here, and we will help them make the very best of themselves.”

Digby Chacksfield has worked in the social enterprise sector for over 15 years and has three decades of business experience. The entrepreneurial expert will be in charge of day to day activities at Rural Enterprise East. He said, “I’m thrilled to be working on this exciting project. We want people to work with us and use our facilities to exceed their business aspirations. We will have hot desk facilities for start-ups, larger areas for more established companies and we will be hosting everything from mentoring to meetings via masterclasses.”

Nicky Daniels Head of Innovation Martlesham was delighted to be at the opening of Rural Enterprise East. She said, “This is another fantastic asset to the region. I wish Rural Enterprise East much success and I am very much looking forward to working closely with the team”.


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