Rural Enterprise Advisory Group

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Rural Enterprise Advisory Group:


To ensure all of Dorset’s residents and businesses are able to fully contribute to and benefit from its rural economy.

The Rural Enterprise Advisory Group (REAG) was established as a sub-group of Dorset LEP to identify and encourage the growth of private enterprise and prospects for jobs in the rural areas of the county. These rural jobs are acknowledged as making a significant economic contribution in specific localities and to Dorset as a whole. The membership of the REAG includes a wide representation of rural organisations in Dorset including the private sector, education, government agencies, the Dorset Local Nature Partnership (DLNP), the Local Action Groups (LAGs) and local authorities.

The Rural Enterprise Advisory Group is responsible for:

  • Maintaining and delivering the Dorset Rural Enterprise Priorities Paper
  • Aspiring to increase the economic productivity and wage levels in rural Dorset, closing the gap on Dorset’s urban areas as well as the national average
  • Informing the EAFRD (European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development) element of Dorset’s ESIF (European Structural and Investment Funds) Growth Programme
  • Championing Dorset’s LEADER programmes
  • Supporting Dorset LEP to fully engage with its rural stakeholders
  • ‘Rural-proofing’ all Dorset LEP policies and activities
  • Represent Dorset LEP at Defra round tables and other related meetings

Rural Enterprise Advisory Group Terms of Reference


The Dorset Rural Enterprise Advisory Group is a voluntary partnership established at the invitation of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership. The REAG fully supports Dorset LEP’s overarching aim to create more jobs and drive economic growth in Dorset through public, private and cross-sector partnership and investment, with a particular focus on its rural economy.  The overriding objective for the REAG is to ensure: “All of Dorset’s residents and businesses are able to fully contribute to and benefit from its rural economy.”


DLEP Board - Luke Rake (Chair), Kingston Maurward College

Dorset businesses representatives x 7

Education and training institutions representative x 1

Public sector representatives x 4

Town and Parish Councils representatives x 1

LEADER representative x 1

Dorset LNP representative x 1                                                                                                         Detailed information on REAG membership will be updated shortly.

Dorset Rural Enterprise Priorities Paper

The Dorset Rural Enterprise Priorities Paper endeavours to recognise the issues, opportunities and probable barriers to growth in rural Dorset, whilst appreciating the contribution made by the natural environment, or our natural capital, which has recently been valued at £1.5bn of gross value added per annum. It will link with Government plans for boosting productivity in rural areas (summarised in ‘Towards a one nation economy: A 10-point plan for boosting rural productivity’).

The paper seeks to identify the actions which might be undertaken by Dorset LEP and its partners to encourage not only the growth of existing sectors but also the diversity of businesses to increase the opportunities for those who live and work in our countryside.

 Download the paper here.

South West Rural Productivity Commission

The South West Rural Productivity Commission has been established as a partnership by four LEPs in the South West of England: The Heart of the South West (HotSW LEP), Dorset LEP, Swindon & Wiltshire (SWLEP), Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly (CIoS LEP) to explore the issues around rural productivity and growth.

These south west LEPs recognise the importance of rural growth, productivity and prosperity being tackled alongside urban growth, to ensure that improvements impact on all parts of the economy. The commission is set up to hear and review evidence from a range of sources and stakeholders. 

Agri-tech key sector

Dorset has a very long and proud tradition of farming, which has helped to shape Dorset’s beautiful landscape.

Dorset is also the home to Kingston Maurward College, which provides education and training in agriculture and farming. They have recently opened the Dorset LEP-funded agri-tech centre, which comprises an agricultural classroom, an IT suite, a high spec workshop and machinery facilities including a fleet of tractors, a GPS tractor, plough, sprayer and variable rate drill. It helps to position Kingston Maurward College at the forefront of agricultural training facilities in the region. 

For more information about the agri-tech key sector see our Invest in Dorset page.

European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) 

EAFRD helps the rural areas of the EU to meet the wide range of economic, environmental and social challenges of the 21st century. Read more..

RDPE Growth Programme

Grant funding for projects in England which create jobs and growth in the rural economy. Read more

Rural Economy Enquiry Response 

The Rural Economy Committee was appointed on 17 May 2018. A call for evidence was published on 20 July 2018. This is Dorset LEP and Dorset Local Nature Partnership's response. Read more