As our national final is just a month away, we think it is the perfect time to get to know the businesses vying for our coveted national awards. Over the next few weeks we will be taking a look at each of our twelve categories in turn, from Best Rural Start Up all the way through to the Triumph Over Adversity award.

Each national finalist has already won the award for their category in their own region. We think they’re all fantastic rural businesses, but who will our judges declare to be the cream of the crop?

Find out more about each of the business in with a chance of winning the national Best Rural Start Up Award below. The Best Rural Start Up Business is sponsored by Openreach.


Ballinger Equine – East Region

Ballinger Equine is a first-opinion ambulatory equine veterinary practice, serving Hertfordshire, South Bedfordshire, Epping Forest, north London and Essex, 24 hours a day, every day of the year. The practice provides total equine healthcare, veterinary medicine and performance management to all equidae including miniature horses, donkeys, riding-school ponies, leisure and pleasure horses, professional eventers, hunt horses, showjumpers, grands-prix dressage horses and elite athletes. 

Operating a fleet of specially equipped 4×4 trucks, Ballinger Equine takes advanced diagnostic imaging technology to wherever the patient is located, whatever the weather. Accurate on-site diagnosis means the veterinary surgeons can commence targeted, effective treatment immediately.


Clare Haggas Fine Art and Design Ltd – Midlands Region

Clare Haggas launched her business in 2015, specialising in large vibrant countryside art, particularly pheasant and game the paintings are unique and visually impressive. In 2017 a moment of inspiration drove her to transfer her powerful art onto silk accessories and the business has become a British-made luxury brand. Clare Haggas Fine Art and Design is also growing into a significant retail business through her website, in addition to being represented in 45 stores in nine countries around the world.


Gear Change Limited – South West Region

Gear Change Limited is a remanufacturing drivetrain specialist servicing Somerset and beyond for all drive train issues on passenger vehicles and light commercials.

Formed in 2018, it is staffed with employees who have vast expertise in the repair, remanufacture and fitting of vehicle gearboxes differentials and transfer units, clutches and dual mass flywheels. They refurbish gearboxes to the highest of standards, using parts with the same or even higher specifications to those as used by the original manufacturer.

Gear Change Limited always puts the customer first.


Millin Brook Luxury Dog Boarding -Wales & Northern Ireland Region

Nestled in the heart of the beautiful Pembrokeshire countryside, Millin Brook Luxury Dog Boarding is a family-run business offering “home from home” bespoke holidays for all types of dogs, living as part of the family.

Millin Brook offers the best holiday experience for dogs, with guests enjoying days filled with walks in the countryside, playing in our 10 acre securely fenced meadows, trips to some of the best beaches in the country, evenings in front of the log burner and nights spent sleeping soundly and dreaming of tomorrow’s fun and adventures!


Spent Shells – North Region

A “from field to fashion gift company”, Spent Shells makes recycling glamorous for you and your home. Using by-products from a rural eco-farm in Northumberland, Spent Shells formed as a way to limit ‘waste’ from country life and appreciate beauty which would otherwise be disposed of. From baubles to brooches, keyrings to fascinators the product list is vast along with colourful commissions for the individual. Having only been in business less than a year, they have already been on the front page and had an editorial in the Tyne Valley Living magazine, in addition to securing a number of weddings to accessorise for current and future seasons.


The Courtyard at Wainhill – South East Region

The Courtyard at Wainhill is a rural B&B business located in the heart of the Chilterns set alongside the stunning backdrop of The Ridgeway National Trail. It has been open for over two years and comprises two beautiful en-suite rooms in a detached timber lodge which offers comfort and privacy. The rooms overlook the Pottager Garden which provides many ingredients for the delicious locally sourced breakfast provided for guests each morning. They welcome dogs and with over 20 acres of clover meadows and paddocks, combined with wonderful walks straight onto the Ridgeway, are a popular choice for their owners!


Which business will be triumphant? Find out on 27th February! We’ll be posting the results on our Twitter and Facebook channels, so you can follow along there. All that’s left is to wish the very best of luck to the businesses vying for the Openreach-sponsored National Best Rural Start Up Award, as well as all of our other national finalists.

To see the full list of finalists or find more information on the National Final, go to www.ruralbusinessawards.co.uk/national

If you think your business has a shot at winning Best Rural Start Up, or one of our other awards, why not enter the 2020/21 Rural Business Awards? Learn more at www.ruralbusinessawards.co.uk/enter-2020

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