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Amazon Launches Academy for Rural UK Businesses

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Amazon logoAmazon launched a program for small and medium sized businesses in rural UK called the Amazon Academy. The program is designed to help rural businesses sell online. The first Academy event will be held next month in Birmingham at the Rural Entrepreneur Show where over 6,000 businesses are expected to attend.

Announcement follows:

Amazon today announced a new Academy dedicated to rural businesses, to be held at the Rural Entrepreneur Show in the Birmingham NEC on the 8th and 9th November. The Rural Entrepreneur Show will be attended by over 6,000 rural businesses looking to find new growth opportunities.

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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.

The new YouGov survey of over 1,000 SMEs from across the country found that over the next 12 months, rural SMEs who export forecast +2.1% revenue growth and +0.9% jobs growth, compared to +1.2% revenue growth and +0.3% jobs growth for rural SMEs than do not export.

Over the course of two days, rural businesses attending the Amazon Academy will hear from senior Amazon experts and successful rural e-commerce entrepreneurs on:

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– How to grow revenue online, manage logistics and increase their export sales through Amazon Marketplace

– How rural artisans and craft experts can grow their business through Handmade at Amazon

– How rural businesses and organisations can reach customers and communities through Amazon’s new cloud-based voice service, Alexa.

“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. “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.”

One successful rural small business-owner using Amazon Marketplace is Karen Riddick, the owner of Second Nature, based in Dumfries, Scotland. Karen left her day job after 16 years of employment, when her FairTrade home furnishings company started to take off. Second Nature now exports homeware products around Europe and generates roughly £350,000 annual turnover. Karen says that half of this annual turnover comes through the Amazon Marketplace, which gives Second Nature access to millions of customers through its digital services and logistics operations.

In a message to rural businesses ahead of speaking at the upcoming Amazon Academy, Karen Riddick said: “As someone who runs a successful rural based business, my message to other small businesses is that there are no geographical limits to e-commerce. For those who prefer rural living, I would say that it’s the perfect solution. Thanks to the internet and technology, you can have a high growth business without giving up your scenery, your community or your quality of life. There’s huge opportunity for our rural economy, and I look forward to encouraging other small business owners in taking their first step into the digital world.”

Amazon announced the Academy following a consultation by Rural England and Scotland’s Rural College launched earlier this year onUnlocking the Digital Potential of Rural Areas. At the Amazon Academy, rural business owners will hear the initial findings and have the opportunity to feed in their own insights ahead of the report being published later this year.

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. I would like to invite all rural businesses attending to join our discussion and tell us their story, so we can build an effective roadmap for delivering the report’s ambition.”

The growing success of rural businesses that export and use e-commerce is reflected in new research published by Amazon today of how many rural businesses are now successfully selling through the Amazon Marketplace. Over 10,000 rural sellers, including small businesses and individuals, use Amazon Marketplace to grow their business online.

Rural businesses wishing to attend the Amazon Academy and the Rural Entrepreneur Show, can register free on the Rural Entrepreneur website.

SOURCE: Amazon Announcement

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. Send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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