Two local companies shortlisted in Rural Business Awards

5th August

Burwash-based artisan food and drink platform and Waldron-based The English Soap Company have been shortlisted in this year’s Rural Business Awards.

It means Burwash-based is in the running to be named one of the best rural businesses in the UK after being shortlisted in the Best Rural Retail Business category of the regional Rural Business Awards. The English Soap Company was shortlisted in the Rural Innovation category. and The English Soap Company will battle it out against fellow rural businesses, entrepreneurs and enterprises from across the South East and East of England for a place in the national finals. The regional final will be held virtually in October 2021, with the national final taking place early next year.

Entrepreneur Candy Bowles

Speaking after being shortlisted, founder Candy Bowles said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have been recognised and shortlisted in these prestigious awards. The platform was only launched during the pandemic around a year ago, so a start-up getting this type of recognition alongside other more established businesses is both amazing and humbling. I am so proud to be working with the many artisan producers, many of whom are rural, to market their wonderful products by helping them to tell their stories and also offer a richer experience for shoppers to access and enjoy artisan made food and drink, many of which are not given a fair chance in the mainstream grocers.”

Managing Director of The English Soap Company Oliver Butts said: “It’s the first time we have been shortlisted in The Rural Business Awards so to hear we had got through to this stage was very exciting.We are truly a rural business as we are based in the beautiful Sussex countryside on a farm and most of our staff are rural, so this recognition means a lot to us all.”

Oliver Butts
Oliver Butts, Managing Director of The English Soap Company

The success in the Rural Business Awards for The English Soap Company follows other recent news that the business had been shortlisted in the Made in Britain category of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards.

The Rural Business Awards 2021/2022, in partnership with Amazon, will mark the Awards’ seventh year of celebrating the success of businesses across the UK’s rural economy. The awards are organised by rural business for rural business with the aim of celebrating the achievements of rural businesses and developing a strong network for rural business owners.

Director and Co-Founder of The Rural Business Awards, Jemma Clifford, added: “We are excited to celebrate the 2021/2022 awards after such a challenging year for businesses. We are passionate about creating a nurturing environment where rural businesses can develop, and this starts by showcasing the great work they do. On behalf of everyone at the Rural Business Awards, we want to say well done to and wish them luck ahead of the regional finals.”

The Rural Business Awards is the brainchild of Leicestershire businesswomen Anna Price and Jemma Clifford, who wanted to showcase the wealth of entrepreneurial talent in rural areas of Britain.

The awards are organised by rural business for rural business, with winners in the 13 categories – ranging from Best Rural Start-up and Best Rural Diversification Project; through to Best Rural Professional Services Business and Best Rural Innovation – decided by an independent panel of judges drawn from the rural business sector, rural public sector agencies, and rural charitable organisations.

The Rural Business Awards is hosting a series of regional finals in the North, East, Midlands, South West, Wales and Northern Ireland, throughout October 2021, ahead of the National Final next February.

More about Melted Inside exists to share the love of what artisan makers do every day and the love they put into creating products for shoppers looking to buy real food from real people. If you are an artisan food maker and interested in joining Melted Inside please email   

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About The English Soap Company

What began as a small kitchen table business is now an internationally recognised soap and toiletries brand, exporting to over 40 different countries all over the world, with partnerships with large global brands such as Disney and The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew.