We want to better support those who want to enter farming and develop land-based businesses.
In June, we shared how landowners, estate managers, a range of organisations and recent new entrants were helping us to shape our approach.
Through the New Entrant Support Scheme, we want to nurture entrepreneurs to develop their business ideas, foster innovation and promote growth.
Testing the idea of incubation
One idea that we said we were keen to test through a pilot was incubation: providing tactical support to young businesses through the early stages of development.
We put out a call for proposals from organisations to lead these pilot projects.
The bids we received over the summer were impressive. We evaluated them all and, after careful consideration, we’ve now appointed pilot leads.
Now that we have our pilot leads, you can apply to take part in the pilot.
The pilot will provide tactical support to young businesses through the early stages of development, nurturing entrepreneurs to further develop a business idea, encouraging innovation and growth. You'll be supported to pitch for the land and finance you need.
In this post, I’ll share details of the successful pilot leads and more information about the pilot.
The pilot is available to:
- individuals with some farming experience, but not their own land-based business
- individuals with 4 to 10 years’ experience running a land-based farming business
We want to recruit about 200 pilot participants in total. If you are thinking about starting a land-based business or scaling up your existing business, the pilot might be for you.
The pilot is not just for arable or animal farming businesses. It also includes horticulture, agro-forestry and environmental service businesses, such as providing livestock for arable farms as part of an agroecology system.
The big challenge is to develop business models that will be successful and resilient in the future. They may well not look like those of the past.
If you gain a place on the pilot, you will also be able to take part in any of our other farming schemes if you're eligible.
How the pilot will work
People will start to be recruited into the pilot in December. The pilot will run until spring 2023.
Pilot activities will take place in the evenings and on weekends, they can be carried out online at a time that works for you. There is no cost to participants.
How to apply
You can apply to take part now. To apply, please contact the relevant pilot organisation by following the links below.
The New Entrant Support Scheme will cover the whole of England. At the pilot stage, however, there are some restrictions on locations as you'll see below.
|Project type||Region||Pilot lead|
|Rural land-based opportunities||West Midlands||Harper Adams University|
|South-west||School for Social Entrepreneurs|
|Peri-urban land-based opportunities||North-east||School for Social Entrepreneurs|
|South-west||The Landworkers' Alliance|
The pilot leads have their own deadlines.
You might also want to engage with these pilot projects as a potential mentor, demonstrator of innovative business models or as a landowner looking to work with new entrants.
If so, please follow the same links above to register your interest with the pilot leads.
These pilot projects are just the start. We will use our findings from them to inform the full New Entrant Support Scheme, which we will continue to develop next year.
Please subscribe to the Future Farming blog to receive updates on the scheme. If you have any questions about our approach, leave a comment below.