2nd February 2009, 4:02pm
Expert business advice on offer to farmers
Riseholme Hall A new project to help farmers and budding rural entrepreneurs develop their business skills has been launched at the University of Lincoln.

The Lincolnshire Fresh Start Academy gives people who are new to or already working in the industry access to the knowledge of experienced rural businesspeople. Established farmers can also get expert guidance on how to develop their businesses.

More than 70 people attended the Academy’s launch, which took place at the University of Lincoln’s Riseholme campus on Thursday 29 January.

The Lincolnshire Fresh Start Academy is part of a rapidly-expanding network of colleges and groups that help develop the business skills needed to get ahead in modern rural enterprises.

The initiative involves three elements – business skills training, mentoring and business match-making. Training is delivered through a series of workshops and followed up via a club structure enabling graduates to stay in touch.

Harriet Butt, Fresh Start Academy Coordinator for Lincolnshire said: “I would encourage anyone wanting to get into farming or, indeed, newly established farmers thinking about their future business to come along and find out what the Academy can do for them.”

A steering group consisting of leading farmers, land agents, college lecturers and other rural professionals has been set up at Riseholme to ensure that the Academy members can access the very best advice and guidance to support business enterprise.

Bill Meredith, Head of Agriculture and Land-based Studies at the University of Lincoln, said: “Fresh Start Academies are intended to improve the business skills of rural entrepreneurs and to provide a support network to assist them in developing successful enterprises.”

Among the speakers at the launch were Alex Albone, farmer and founder of the Pipers Crisps business and Matthew Naylor, a columnist for Farmers Weekly and a local farmer.

The Academy is backed by the University of Lincoln, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Lincolnshire County Council and the National Farmers Union (NFU), among others.

The next meeting of the Lincolnshire Fresh Start Academy will take place at the University of Lincoln’s Riseholme campus on Thursday 26 February, when the subject will be ‘Money Matters’.

For more information or to reserve a place at the Lincolnshire Fresh Start Academy, contact Harriet Butt by emailing hatbutt@nlrt.co.uk or phoning 01472 371875.
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