Updated guide to help businesses welcome customers with assistance dogs


VisitBritain have updated Take the Lead, our popular guide to welcoming customers with assistance dogs. The guide explains what your legal duties are to assistance dog owners under the Equality Act 2010 and how you can meet them, often at no additional cost. It also provides answers to frequently asked questions such as whether you can refuse access to an assistance dog in a dining area.


VisitBritain issue the latest edition of Quality Edge to small and medium sized tourism businesses

The latest edition of Quality Edge, VisitBritain’s magazine for small and medium sized tourism businesses, is now available. 

This issue covers a variety of topics including how to tap into the 'wellness tourism' trend, advice on obtaining insurance and top tips on targeting Chinese visitors. 


Grants for Rural Businesses and Economic Projects

In conjunction with the Rural Payments Agency and the Heart of the South West Growth Hub, the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership is holding an event for rural businesses and organisations wishing to apply for grants through the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Growth Programme.

The ‘Heart of the South West RDPE Growth Programme Briefing’ will take place from 10.00 (refreshments from 9.30) to 13.00 on Friday 24 March at Cullompton Community Centre.

For further details click here


New - Honiton Spring Fair Saturday 22nd April 10-5pm

The Beehive, Thelma Hulbert Gallery and Toast in Honiton have joined forces to host a Spring Fair in on Saturday, 22nd April 10-5pm.

This will be a family event with a band and selection of craft stalls which will be held across the joint venues of Toast, Beehive and Thelma Hulbert Gallery in Honiton.

Local craftsmen and women, artisans and local businesses are invited to have a pitch at the fair.  The pitch fee is £25. The organisers will be promoting the event widely in the town and local communities.

Please contact Gemma at Thelma Hulbert Gallery if you are interested for more details : 01404 45006.


Our March eNewsletter is out!

If you would like to sign-up to receieve our monthly newsletter, please email


The Apple Way - a new 55 mile walkway through the Blackdown Hills

A fantastic new 55-60 mile walkway is being designed and created by a local working group to connecting our regions beautiful landscapes and small businesses.

The Apple Way will start at Sidmouth Cricket Club and finish at Somerset Cricket Club in Taunton, directly through the Blackdown Hills AONB passing village shops, tearooms and 19 pubs, that's one pub every 3 miles!

This is set to be a very exciting project with work starting ASAP.

The project is being led by Tourism Councillor for East Devon Jenny Brown.  If you would like to learn more about the walkway, or get involved and be part of the working group please email Jenny



Cyber Security Awareness Week - ALL NEXT WEEK!

Cyber Security Awareness Week is a free, five-day programme of informative briefings, networking opportunities and advice sessions to help your business tackle cyber crime.

Featuring a diverse range of speakers including Bluegrass, Datto, ESET, Lloyds Bank, Microsoft, South West Regional Crime Unit and other local experts.

Each session will be packed full of practical advice that you can easily implement in your business as soon as you get back to the office.

All events are based at venues across Exeter and are
free to attend

Follow the link for full details


The Food Assembly comes to Somerset

The Food Assembly comes to Somerset


Interested in changing the way we eat and buy food? The Food Assembly offers tools for anyone, anywhere to start their own online farmer’s market.


Any business, organisation or person can start a Food Assembly. It’s a fun and rewarding part-time activity that helps grow networks and supports Somerset’s farmers and food-makers.


After a successful launch in Frome, the food assembly is looking for someone to start one in their town. By starting a Food Assembly, you get to bring local delicious food to your colleagues, friends and families and empower people to change how we buy and eat food.


In Frome, they have over 2,000 members buying directly from 26 food producers each week. Customers order their food online and then pick it up a local friendly venue. Our Frome Assembly organisers love bringing their community together to support their local farmers. As the food is ordered online, food producers know exactly how much to bring so there is no food waste.


But that’s not all – the average distance of food travelled is 28 miles and the producers get over 80% for their work, compared to 20-40% via supermarkets!


If this sounds like something you’d be interested in starting in your town, contact Shireen at Also, watch our video to find out more!


12.4M Pounds of European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) funding

£12.4M of European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) funding to increase rural jobs, growth and productivity in HotSW LEP


Rural businesses and organisations can now apply to the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) for grants through the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Growth Programme:

  • £2,784,740 for ‘Rural Business Development Grants’ – Farm businesses diversifying into non-agricultural activity and new or existing micro and small businesses (including social enterprises) in rural areas can apply for capital grants between £35,000 and £170,000…
  • £7,540,000 for ‘Food Processing Grants’ – New or existing food and drink processing businesses…
  • £2,088,555 for ‘Rural Tourism Infrastructure’ – Rural businesses, farmers, landowners, charities and public bodies can apply for capital grants from £35,000 for projects that improve the local rural tourism offer by delivering new or enhanced rural tourism assets and infrastructure.


Further details at

And to see the ‘calls’ and apply go to


Sponsorship Opportunties for the Exmouth Festival 2017

Exmouth Festival 2017 is offering opportunities to sponsor the biggest free community event in East Devon. In its 21st year the Festival is attracting over 50,000 throughout the duration of the Festival, frequently receiving national coverage as a leading example of a community arts Festival. They are inviting local businesses to present their brand, company, products or services to a captive audience at the festival and to a wider audience through the myriad of festival marketing.


The sponsorship opportunities are available on the Festival website,  


The BHBA February Newsletter is out!

You can now catch-up on all the news from the BHBA in our February Newsletter



BREXIT - is it affecting your business?

A group has been set up to look at the issues around Brexit - the Brexit Opportunities and Resilience Group (BROG).

The HotSW are still keen to receive comments from businesses and others, on the impact that Brexit is having in the wider business community.  If you have any feedback, please get in contact with Hattie Winters at


Could you be one of the new Non-Exeuctive Board Members for the HotSW LEP?

This is a fantastic opportunity to actively contribute to the next phase of their development and benefit our economy and communities.  If you are a business or social economy leader with passion and expertise, please apply before 14 February.  Please download the candidate pack and the diversity form here


The HotSW LEP is a strong business led partnership between the private sector, local authorities, universities and colleges.  Since our establishment we have developed a £500m investment pipeline to support our mission to see better jobs and prosperity across Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay.

HotSW LEP is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes applicants reflecting the diversity of the community.


New Business Lunch Club!

We are delighted to announce the launch of the BHBA new monhtly lunch club which will take place at the Sidmouth Arms in Upottery on the third wednesday of each month. A fantastic opportunity to meet and network with the BHBA team, other BHBA members and visitors, and hear from a guest speaker each month.

Our first lunch date is Wednesday 15 February with the following format:

12noon      Meet in the bar for informal networking.  All drinks are payable at the bar.

12:20pm    Presentation from our guest speaker

1:00pm      Dish of the day will be served

1:30pm      Tea / coffee, further networking

2:00pm      Close

Everyone is invited to join us.  Booking is essential £12 BHBA members, £15 visitors.



New monthly lunch club to be launched

We are delighted to be launching a new monthly lunch club hosted by the BHBA.  This monthly meeting will include a lunch at the Sidmouth Arms, Upottery and feature a guest speaker each month. 

A great opportunity to meet our team, other BHBA members, discover new opportunties and network in a relaxed environment.  More details will follow soon!


Business is booming in the Blackdown Hills!

We are delighted to see the fantastic news and achievements of the Blackdown Hills Business Association in 2016 has reached the Devon Business and Professional publication  inside the January edition of Devon Life Magazine and the Exeter Chamber of Commerce news!

You can read the article here! Exeter Chamber News


Happy New Year!

We wish all our members, local businesses, their customers and our local communities in the Blackdown Hills a very Happy New Year!  We are looking forward to releasing a brand new website this winter, lots of exciting events, networking opportunties, training workshops and funding opportunities to support business growth and development.

We hope to see many of you very soon in 2017.

Best wishes,

Claire and the BHBA Board.


Devon businesses to take fast track to growth

Business programme Fast Track to Growth is returning for its second year, and Devon County Council are supporting it for the first time. Companies from across Devon have the chance to benefit from free support to help them grow, with one company having the chance to receive £15,000 worth of on-going business support through 2017.


The annual programme provides a wide range of advice and support for companies intent on growth, including free Growth Day events in Plymouth and Exeter, a free intensive Fast Track to Growth programme for shortlisted firms and, for one company, £15,000 worth of on-going business support through 2017


For more information follow the link


Funding still availabe for businesses in Mid and East Devon

Rural businesses in Mid and East Devon are being reminded that they can still apply for funding through a special support programme.


Rural businesses in Mid and East Devon are being reminded they can still apply for EU-funding through a special support programme over the next two years with £1.2 million available through the LEADER REAL Devon grant.


Devon County Council is overseeing the £1.2 million LEADER REAL Devon grant which aims to support the rural economy and create jobs. The programme is EU funded, but the County Council is reassuring businesses that the funding is still available over the next two years


The LEADER grants programme aims to:

• increase farm productivity;
• support micro and small businesses and farm diversification;
• boost rural tourism;
• provide rural services;
• provide cultural and heritage activities; and
• increase forestry productivity.


Find out more here


Wishing everyone a Happy Christmas and Prosperous New Year!

We would like to wish all our members and local communities a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year! 

We look forward to seeing you all in 2017, with another exciting year ahead full of events, training workshops and celebrations for the Blackdown Hills.


The South West Business Expo opportunity

The South West Business Expo 
Thursday 30th March 2017
The South West Business Expo is probably the largest business exhibition in South West.  It’s FREE to attend and offers visitors the chance to network with local business owners, plus offers the chance for you to gain free business advice and support from local organisations and speakers.
Your business could have a presence at the business show under the umbrella of the BHBA.  We are keen to hear from any of our members who would be interested to feature on a BHBA stand, promoting your services or products to 2000+ visitors.  To discover more please contact Claire on 07826 581365 or before Friday 6th January 2017. 


Kittow Cattle Festive Meat Boxes

Now is a great time to fill up your freezer ready for the festive season.


If you would like a delivery in the next 3 weeks, please let Kittow Cattle know as soon as you can so they can co-ordinate their elves! 

Their boxes also make great gifts, if your loved ones would rather a delivery in the new year, they can provide a voucher for them to redeem at their convenience.


Please call Dave or Sarah on  01823 680 971 or  Dave 07785900450





Congratulations to Taunton Farmers Market

Multi award winning Taunton Farmers’ Market, a cooperative of local farmers, growers and producers, many of whom are BHBA members, were named the South West’s Best Farmers’ Market by Taste of the West earlier this year, have proudly sponsored Taunton’s Christmas Tree in front of the Market House, to help bring a little Christmas joy to the County Town this festive season.


Graeme Wallace, Chairman of Taunton Farmers’ Market, told us: “We are extremely pleased to be able to show our thanks to fellow Tauntonians, by sponsoring the 2016 Christmas tree.  This is our way of saying we are proud to be part of this town and to thank all who support us each and every Thursday throughout the year.”



Ellises Farm featured in Country Homes Magazine

BHBA Member Donna Lucking at Ellises Farm is featured in the national Country Homes Magazine January 2017 edition. Buy your copy now!


Festive and End of Year Celebration

Monday 12th December, 6-8pm

We are organising a Festive and End of Year Celebration at Culm Pyne Barton and would like to invite you to come along and meet other BHBA members whilst enjoying some mulled cider, mince pies and nibbles.

This is a great opportunity for everyone to get together and meet to encourage growth within the Blackdown Hills and between individual businesses. This is our opportunity to say thank you to all businesses within the Blackdown Hills for your support and great community spirit throughout 2016.

Festive attire is welcome – but not essential!

Please RSVP to (to help with catering)

We look forward to seeing everybody there to celebrate this festive season

Venue: Culm Pyne Barton, Hemyock, EX15 3UE


FREE local events, essential for any business

Digital Trends 2017 - Wednesday 7th December 2-4pm

Stay ahead of the digital technology curve in 2017 and create your own competitive edge. Join the Cosmic team for a mince pie and find out about the trends to watch out for!

This session will cover:

  • What’s new in the world of apps and cloud solutions
  • Explore the latest website trends
  • A look at Cyber Security and future proofing your systems
  • Virtual Reality vs. Augmented Reality
  • The rise of Instagram and Pinterest in 2017


Keeping Businesses Safe Online - Tuesday 6th December 2016

Police & Crime Commissioner launches South West Cyber Security Cluster (SWCSC). A not-for-profit collaboration raising cyber security awareness and best practice in the South West

SWCSC are working with Devon & Cornwall Police to help you beat the odds and for the South West to be a safer place to do digital business.

We bring together the most experienced cyber security and privacy companies in the South West together with the Police, to provide FREE local support for South West organisations seeking to educate their members to prevent these costs to their businesses.

Please click here to view all events


Your chance to meet the SW Business Growth Hub & LEP

Here is your chance to find out how the HotSW Growth Hub can help your business and to find out more about the HotSW LEP.

The Heart of the South West & Business Growth Hub are trialling a new approach, to give the wider business community in Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay an opportunity to better engage with the HotSW LEP and this time to also meet with the Growth Hub.  


There will be one workshop in Somerset on Wednesday 14th December and one in Devon on Thursday 19th January.  If you would like to find out more about your LEP and to hear the latest from the Growth Hub about support for business, then please book your FREE place at one of these events.


See our Events Page for full details


Otter Brewery wins Highly Commended at National Business Awards

Devon’s largest beer producer and BHBA member has been ‘Highly Commended’ in the ‘The Grichan Partnership Sustainable Business Award’ at the 2016 Lloyds Bank National Business Awards.

Described as “the Oscars of great British business” by the Prime Minister, this year’s prestigious award ceremony took place in front of 1,200 people on Tuesday 15thNovember at the Grosvenor House, Park Lane.

Brewery founders David and Mary Ann McCaig were joined on the night by eldest son Patrick and his wife Tor. The great news comes as the business finishes celebrating its first quarter century as a family owned regional brewery supplying pubs, sports clubs and venues across the South West and beyond.

The finalists were chosen from the hundreds of businesses that entered across 18 award categories with live presentations to an expert judging panel being used to decide the overall winners.

Patrick McCaig, Director at Otter Brewery, said: “I’m so proud of all our boys and girls who make Otter what it is. To be up against the rest of the country and get such recognition for our approach to sustainability is a real coup – we only just missed out on the top spot by a whisker. From very humble beginnings that really came about through Mum and Dad’s pioneering vision, the brewery today remains true to those engrained family values, strong eco credentials and a desire to support the local community. Everything we do comes from the heart and that is one of the biggest ingredients to successfully maintaining Otter Brewery for now and the future.”

The business was established in 1990 and now employs 35 people. The core range includes Otter Ale, Otter Bitter, Otter Amber, Otter Bright, Otter Head, Wildsider and Tarka Lager – Devon’s first pure lager.

Congratulations to all the Otter Brewery team from the Blackdown Hills Business Association


Congratulations to the Themla Hulbert Gallery


Congratulations to the Thelma Hulbert Gallery scooped a GOLD Award at the prestigious Devon Tourism Awards 2016 in the 'Access & Inclusivity' category.

The Awards Ceremony was held at Exeter University's Great Hall and hosted by Judi Spiers and special guest Jo Pavey. The award

They now go on to the South West regionalfinals in February 2017 - so keep those fingers crossed!


October & November copy of the Parish Pump

The "Parish Pump" is the village magazine of Hemyock and the surrounding areas.  It is produced by St Mary's Church with much help from many volunteers.


You can download the Latest copy October & November issue here


Fantastic Social Media Masterclass today!

What a fantastic morning we had thanks to Laura and Pete from Introtweet leading our Social Media Masterclass.  Thirty businesses from the Blackdown Hills attended our masterclass and were inspired by all the opportuntiies and activity possible on Social Media to help improve business.  We hope to be hosting more interactive workshops on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in 2017 - so watch this space!


South West Business Expo 2017

The South West Business Expo is probably the largest business exhibition in South West.  It’s FREE to attend and offers visitors the chance to network with local business owners, plus offers the chance for you to gain free business advice and support from local organisations and speakers.


There are a wide range of exhibitor and sponsorship opportunities as well.

Venue: The Matford Centre, Marsh Barton, Exeter.


If you would like information on sponsoring, exhibiting, speaking or attending then please call 01392 349 135 or


The Blackdown Dormouse


The Blackdown dormouse

The discovery of a black dormouse in the Blackdown Hills, the first to be recorded in the UK, has been generating significant media interest. This now famous small mammal has appeared in the majority of national newspapers, on radio, television and the internet.

It has been a fantastic opportunity for us to publicise Blackdown Hills Natural Futures' work providing homes for and monitoring the progress of dormice in the area – just one of the many achievements of the project.


Member to Member special Marketing and PR Offer


Local communications agency McQueenie Mulholland is offering a limited number of free one hour consultations for other BHBA members.


Maybe you need a bit of help to reach more customers and don't know where to start? Or perhaps you want to climb the Google rankings and ensure that people can see your website? Or do you want to build up a relationship with your local newspapers and aren't sure where to start? Perhaps you want to convert your Facebook likes to actual customers?


Whatever it is, McQueenie Mulholland would like to help you. They are also BHBA members and they know how hard it is for small businesses to find the budget, and very often the time, to market their business. They'll arrange to meet you, talk through your objectives and help you to get on the right track - and best of all it's completely free, with no obligation - you've nothing to lose.


Due to expected demand, they have had to limit the number of consultations they are offering, so give them a ring on 01392 423060 today or drop an email to to make the most of this fantastic offer.


Can you help find new premises?


One of our members has a very successful business and is looking for new premises within the Blackdown Hills.  Do you know of a 350 - 500m2 (3767 - 5381ft) site with telephone and broadband that might be available, or becoming available in the next 6mths or so?

Please contact Claire or 07826 581365 if you are able to help, thank you.


Exmouth Means Business Show

Exmouth Means Business Show on Thursday 27th October 2016 0930 - 1530 at Exmouth Community College.

The event is organised by Exmouth Chamber of Commerce and thebestof Exeter and sponsored by Westerly BMW and supported by the Archant Group and Bay FM.

There are over 200 delegates going so far where they will find a wide range of businesses and organisations exhibiting, 2 speed networking sessions, 3 seminars and a networking cafe selling drinks and food throughout the day.

Pop along to meet other local businesses and you might even meet some new contacts and do some business!

Grab your free delegate tickets here - if you cannot attend, please do share this event with your colleagues.



Business Information Point launch new workshops

Business Information Point have recently added a number of new workshop topics to the Business Boost website.

They are free to attend and available to anyone in Mid Devon, East Devon, Exeter and Teignbridge.

Some of the topics include financial forecasting, completing your first self-assessment, marketing on Twitter and Facebook, creating a website in WordPress and much more.

Go to the
Business Boost website for more information and to register for any of the free workshops


Autumn Social - Skittles and Supper

We will be hosting a fun social evening of skittles with supper after our Annal General Meeting  on Tuesday 18th October at the Catherine Wheel in Hemyock. Everyone is welcome to attend. 

The AGM starts at 6:30pm, followed by supper in the restaurant at 7pm (Chilli and Potato Wedges) and a fun evening of skilttles.  Everyone is welcome, £7.50 per person for BHBA Members, £10.50 for non members.  Places must be pre-booked by following the link by Friday 14 October. All drinks are payable at the bar.



A30 Improvements - Consultation Reminder


The deadline for responses to the consultation on proposed improvements to the A30 between Honiton and Devonshire Inn is Friday 30 September. Devon County Council are promoting an improvement to A30/A303 Honiton to Ilminster section of the corridor to London. As a first phase of improvement, Devon County Council are proposing to identify a Preferred Route for 8km (5 miles) between Honiton and Devonshire Inn. Find out more.


Thelma Hulbert Art Gallery in Honiton Needs Your Help!

The Thelma Hulbert Gallery has been shortlisted as regional finalists to go forward to a public vote in Tesco’s Bags of Helpproject!

The gallery stands to win a grant of £12,000, £10,000 or £8,000 for our community garden.

Voting is open in Honiton, Axminster and Seaton Tesco stores from 31 October – 13 November. Customers will be able to cast their vote using a token given to them at the check-out in store each time they shop. The project with the highest number of votes across the region will receive £12,000, the second placed project £10,000 and the third placed project £8,000.

Bags of Help sees money raised by customers through Tesco’s  5p bag charge go directly back into the local community.  If we win, we want  to expand our  community garden for more local people to enjoy.

·         £8,000 would help us add more seating and fund local primary schools to create a mosaic table for everyone to use.

·         £10,000 would go towards creating a sensory pathway using musical instruments made in workshops with East Devon community groups. This would really make a difference to our visitors with visual impairments and those living with Dementia.

·         £12,000 would give us much needed tools for our garden volunteers and new plants to use in dyeing and printmaking workshops for all the community.


If you or your family and friends shop in these stores, please vote for them and spread the word!


TWO new grants available through Devon County Council

Two grants available

Devon County Council has two grants available that you might be interested in, or know someone who would be.

Devon Work Hubs

Grants of up to £20,000 (max 50% intervention rate) to support the development of work hubs across Devon. email  to register your intention to bid by 5pm on Friday 30th September. Applicants will receive support and advice to put together their application with a business advisor and the full application deadline is 5pm on Friday 21st October. Guidance can be found online:

Devon Enabling Fund

District and town councils can get up to £10,000 to contribute to the cost of assessing land for the development of work space. The maximum grant is £10,000 for up to 50% of the total eligible cost of the project. The deadline is at 5pm on Friday 7th October 2016. Application forms and guidance can be requested by emailing:


AGM Skittles and Supper Evening

Tuesday 18th October 2016



Your are invited to our Annal General Meeting followed by Skittles and light supper on Tuesday 18th October at the Catherine Wheel in Hemyock. Everyone is welcome to attend. 

The AGM starts at 6:15pm, followed by Skilttes and Supper at 7:15pm. £10 per person, payable on the night.  All drinks are payable at the bar.


Please let us know if you're coming so we can order food for you! Tel: 07826 581365 or email


FREE - Social Media Master Class

FREE Social Media Masterclass

Social Media has the power to transform any business. Peter and Laura of Introtweet will discuss in this seminar how businesses of any sector can best utilise Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to reach their customers, prospective customers and target audience.

Attend this seminar to pick up tips and tricks on extending your Facebook reach, using twitter to build your brand awareness & learn how you can use Instagram to gain an instant new audience!

This will be a one-hour theatre style presentation, there is no requirement to bring along a laptop but certainly a notebook and pen! 

10:30am              Welcome refreshments

11am                     Social Media Masterclass followed by Q&A

12midday             Networking

12:30pm               Close

This is a FREE EVENT to BHBA members, or £10 to non-members – places are limited so please book your place here.

Introtweet are the locally renowned Social Media experts


Growth Support 1 to 1 Service is now available

Growth Support 1 to 1 Service is now available

Eligible businesses can now access a fully funded one to one advice session with a Business Adviser through our new Growth Support Service. The service is aimed at both new and established businesses with Growth ambition.
Following your 1 to 1 session you will be provided with a support plan detailing practical steps to move your plans forward.

Support is currently available for businesses in the Heart of the South West LEP area; Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay (excluding North Somerset and BANES) in the following sectors.

·         Agriculture and fisheries

·         Farm diversification

·         Food processing

·         Tourism

·         Retail

·         Care sector and services such as childcare and nursing homes

·         Social Enterprises

Sectors where other funded business support services are currently available such as manufacturing and export are ineligible for this service.

To apply to take part in our Growth Support Service please complete our online form.
Complete an online enquiry form

If you are unsure whether you fit the criteria for the service or to speak directly to one of the team on 03456 047 047.  


The Queens Awards for Enterprise

Applications open until the 2nd September 2016.

You have until the 2nd September 2016 to create an account and apply for the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, which are for outstanding achievements by UK businesses in the categories of:

Ø  Innovation - for commercial success as a result of innovation

Ø  International trade - for growth and commercial success in international trade

Ø  Sustainable development - for commercially successful products, services and management that benefit the environment, society and the economy

Ø  Promoting opportunity - for social mobility programmes that help people from disadvantaged backgrounds into successful working lives.

Previous winners include many small and medium-sized companies. Winners have reported benefitting from worldwide recognition, increased commercial value, greater press coverage and a boost to staff morale.

Your award lasts for 5 years.
Find out more on the Queens Awards for Enterprise website 


What a great day at the Honiton Show!

Thank you to everyone for their support in the Blackdown Hills Marquee at the Honiton Show, here are some lovely pictures of our exhibitors having fun and proud to showcase their businesses.






BHBA raises essential funds for Devon Freewheelers #BloodBikes


Thank you to everyone who visited the Blackdown Hills marquee at the Honiton Show on 4th August 2016.  We all had a fantastic day, and thank you to everyone who took part in our treasure hunt game and rasied a whopping £280 for Devon Freewheeler Blood Bikes!

We will have the offical presnettion shortly and share images with you.

The Devon Freewheelers are a team of 50 volunteer Emergency Vehicle drivers who are dedicated to providing a weekday out of hours service (17.00 – 06.00) and 24/7 weekend service supporting the NHS in delivering essential Blood, Samples, Medication and Donor Breast Milk to hospitals throughout Devon.  #BloodBikes


Keep in touch on Social Media

Don't forget you can keep in touch with all our news, events and information on our Social Media pages:

 LIKE Blackdown Hills Business Association

 Follow and tweet @BHBAcoordinator


Tweet and post all your news and we'll be sure to follow and support you!


Gigaclear sponsors at the Honiton Show

We are delighted to announce that Gigaclear are the new sponsors of the BHBA Marquee at the Honiton Show which takes place on Thursday 4th August 2016.


Gigaclear was founded in December 2010 by its Director and Chief Executive, Matthew Hare. The company is dedicated to building and operating ultrafast, pure fibre-to-the-premises broadband networks in rural Britain. It has delivered to over 20,000 properties to date. Gigaclear are working on a project which aims to build their network in Devon and Somerset, starting with the Blackdown Hills area. Residents and business owners who live locally and would like access to the UK’s best broadband speeds should sign up to Gigaclear’s service now.


Contact Gigaclear:

Tel 01865 591151


The BHBA is raising funds for the Devon Freewheelers


This year at the 126thHoniton Show, the team in the BHBA marquee will be raising funds for the Devon Freewheelers.  Come along and visit us in the lower field between the vintage tractors and the West of England Hound arena. 

We are proud to promote our fantastic array of members all of whom run a business in the Blackdown Hills and surrounding market towns and villages.  Once again there will be local craftsmen and women, food producers, artisans, service providers and activities you can get involved in.  The Blackdown Hills Hedge Association and Wildwood Escot will be displaying their fantastic skills and expertise giving you the opportunity to get hands-on experience. 

Search for the treasure chest!                                       

How well do you know the area of the Blackdown Hills?

Find the hidden treasure to win a beautiful hamper full of homemade and specialist products from businesses within the Blackdown Hills for you to enjoy!  All funds raised will be donated to the exceptional Devon Freewheelers.

The Devon Freewheelers are a team of 50 volunteer Emergency Vehicle drivers who are dedicated to providing a weekday out of hours service (17.00 – 06.00) and 24/7 weekend service supporting the NHS in delivering essential Blood, Samples, Medication and Donor Breast Milk to hospitals throughout Devon.  #BloodBikes


Free workshops with Business Boost

Business Boost have recently added a number of new workshops to their schedule including some new topics.These will be running throughout July, August and September. They are free to attend but places are limited so it's best to book early to avoid disappointment. 

To find out what workshops are available and to book on to any, please visit the Business Boost website.

Don't forget that as part of the Business Boost service you may also entitled to a free face-to-face meeting with one of our experienced business advisors to advise you on any areas of starting or growing your business.

If you are interested in this please either call 0800 592 872 or email


Start-up Britain Tour Bus coming to Exeter


The national enterprise campaign StartUp Britain, run by the Centre for Entrepreneurs, is hitting the road again this summer to provide inspiration and support to thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs.

Now in its fifth year, the StartUp Britain bus tour, powered by NatWest, will visit a record 30 towns and cities over six weeks.

The StartUp Tour is part of an ongoing partnership between StartUp Britain and NatWest that takes a beautiful 1966 Routemaster bus, owned by the bank, across the country to promote entrepreneurship. Parking in high-footfall town squares and offering free, impartial advice, the bus tour celebrates entrepreneurial communities across Britain and inspires individuals to turn their business ideas into action.

The StartUp Tour will have a distinctly local flavour this year, with energetic entrepreneurs recruited in each town to get on board and give advice. They will be joined by local ‘experts’ including accountants, lawyers and professional business advisors. Also on-board will be representatives of national partners including the Intellectual Property Office, the National Enterprise Network and the British Library Business & IP Centre Network.

For full details follow StartUp Britain


**NEW** Businesses in Devon have the oportunity for further grants

Businesses in Devon have the opportunity to bid for a new round of grant funding to help them reach new customers and clients, following the initial success of the scheme earlier this year.

Devon County Council launched the Business Promotion Grant in February as part of its Devon Delivers programme, which aims to highlight the benefits of locating a business in the county.

Grants of up to £1,000 were awarded to 12 Devon companies earlier this year to promote their goods or services to national and international trade audiences.

Businesses across Devon are being invited to submit an application for a grant by Friday 1 July 2016.

The funding will support eligible businesses to cover direct exhibiting costs of attending trade shows or events between next month and March 2017

Full details can be found here


373 Group - Business Awards open to any business in the South West

It's time to recognise those businesses that do a fantastic job but never get recognised. Those that hide their lights under several bushels, are backwards in coming forwards, and shrink as only violets can.  Are you one or do you know businesses that are? Then now is your time!  

The 373 Group's annual awards,sponsored by Folk2folk, are here for you to recognise your peers and nominate in any of the following categories:

  1. Best start-up -a business that has made an immediate impact within the first 12 months of trading  #BestStartup

  2. Best environmental, ethical or social enterprise business-  creating valuable outcomes beyond profit  #BestEnv

  3. Best customer service-  providing more than service with a smile  #BestCustomerService

  4. Best sales, marketing, or PR company-  for those companies that are helping us to make a splash!  #BestMarketing

  5. Best professional service- those companies that provide business support whether through finance, accounting, legal support, property decide  #BestProf

  6. Best retail business- Selling a product or service to the general public through a shop or direct  #BestRetail

  7. Best venue, location or accommodation- a location, space or venue with vavavoom  #BestVenue

  8. Best rural business- celebrating our rural businesses who have made a mark in any sector (food and drink, farming, environmental etc etc)  #BestRural

  9. 373 Group business person of the Year- Dynamic, influential, inspiring? Who fills you with admiration?  #TopPerson

  10. 373 Group Business of the Year- the best business in the 373 Group ecosystem  #TopBusiness

Any business within the South West is eligible but needs to be nominated via twitter using the #373awards and category hashtag  (for example, #BestStartup, #BestEnv etc).  You can't nominate yourself but otherwise there are no rules.  

The final 3 in each category will be chosen by a panel of judges who will do their bes

The awards will be given out at the 373 Group Summer Bash on Thursday 14th July, 2016 at the Deer Park Hotel,  between 19:00 to 21:00.
Nominations close on 10th July 5pm


Book tickets to attend the social evening and awards night on 14th July here


The new Tourism Awards for Somerset, Bristol and Bath

The Tourism Awards for Somerset, Bath and Bristol have been launched to help raise the profile of the region and recognise its top operators.  Entry is free, the programmes being funded by a range of sponsors and partners, and all entrants receive feedback. 


There are twenty different categories including Restaurants, Cafes & Tearooms, Pubs, Attractions, Activity providers, Glamping, Boutique Small Hotel and Large Hotel, Self Catering, Holiday Parks and B&Bs, Business and Venue Tourism, Events and Festivals and Tourist Information Providers. There are also awards for Sustainable Tourism, Dog Friendly Businesses, Accessibility, International Visitor Experience and Outstanding Customer Service.



The Tourism Awards will culminate at an Awards Dinner on 19th October, with winners automatically considered for the South West Tourism Excellence Awards and the national VisitEngland awards in 2017.  


The deadline for entering has been extended to midnight on 27th June, but businesses are encouraged to start preparing now and not leave it to the last minute.  Please see HOW TO ENTER.

If you have any queries please contact

Follow us @BBSTourismAward




Markets and Street Trading in East Devon

The issue of markets and street trading in East Devon could affect you in terms of your location, your business or for other reasons – Please be sure to respond if you want your views to be considered!


East Devon is a small business economy with almost 90% of our businesses being sole traders or having less than ten employees. We are a strong farming and food production location with coastal and market towns and communities set in a strong rural and coastal environment. We want to know what you think about our proposal to change how street trading works in East Devon, which we believe would help make the most of these strengths and improve the local economy by encouraging more opportunities for well managed markets, festivals and street trading across the district. 


Street trading includes stalls at outdoor events, stalls in the street, outdoor markets, festivals, food vans at the side of the road. Anything where someone is selling goods or services on the streets or on outside pedestrian areas or open spaces.


At the moment in the vast majority of East Devon, street trading is either prohibited or we have no way of making sure it is properly managed. Our idea is to change this to a system that would lift the current bans and more closely manage street trading by requiring anyone wanting to trade on the street to apply to us for consent to do so.


The results of this consultation will be taken into account when deciding whether to advance this proposal.


Please let us know what you think by taking part in the consultation online at:


Thank you


Richard Cohen
Deputy Chief Executive Development, Regeneration and Partnership



Joint event launch for Making it Local and REAL Devon

The joint launch event for Making it Local and REAL Devon was held at the stunningly beautiful Muddifords Court in Willand on 9th May 2016 and was a wonderful evening

The evening presentations began with a brief overview of the LEADER programme by Dominie Dunbrook the Programme Manager for both Making it Local and REAL Devon.
Cllr Richard Chesterton, Chairman of REAL Devon gave a short overview of the REAL Devon area, and what the Local action group aims to achieve. REAL Devon is new to LEADER and has never had the EU funding before. Richard spoke on behalf of himself and the Executive group members expressing how excited they are to be involved in making a real difference with this valuable money.
Richard also gave an overview of the 4 projects that have been awarded funding so far in the REAL Devon area:     

  1. A Thoverton farming business that wanted to invest in new techniques by purchasing a Zero Tillage drill was awarded £12,000.
  2. A Tiverton based import export Micro business was awarded £4,000 to help with a new phone system, warehouse equipment and signage for their new location, which will enable them to create new jobs and expand their export areas.
  3. An Orchard near Crediton that has been running as a hobby business was awarded £15,000 to refurbish a building, purchase processing and bottling equipment to enable them to produce apple juice to sell.
  4. A Winery in Clayhanger was awarded £26,000  to help them renovate and equip an old barn to enable them to increase their sparkling wine production.


Cllr Paul Diviani,  Chairman of Making it Local, spoke about his involvement with Making it Local for many years and gave a flavour of the changes that have happened since the first tranche of funding. Paul told the attendees about how much good the money has achieved previously and how there is still a long way to go and that this funding is incredibly important to help businesses in these rural areas.
Paul gave an overview of the two projects that have been awarded so far in the Making it Local area:

  1. A cider producer in Ilminster who were awarded £21,000 to expand the business with the purchase of new kegging and associated equipment. This will enable them to expand their business from solely bottles into kegs in pubs.
  2. A Farmer who wants to invest in a new and innovative slurry management system was awarded £15,000. The new system takes a waste product and turns it into safe and hygienic bedding for the animals.

The organisers would like to thank all the businesses and attendees who helped to make the launch of Making it Local and REAL Devon a huge success.

Go to their website REAL Devon to find out more about the businesses that attended and for an overview of LEADER


Opportunities on Hinkley Supply Chain

Hinkley C Construction – Contract Opportunities for Devon and Somerset Businesses

The Hinkley Supply Chain Team are encouraging businesses in Devon and Somerset to make the most of the valuable opportunities around the Hinkley Point C project

The project will require a range of capabilities including:

Construction – Civil works, building trades, material and component supplies, construction services (fuel, plant, waste management), 

Mechanical and Electrical – Steel Fabrication, Machine shop, Precision and HVAC components, Non Destructive Testing, Electrical components and contracts, Control and Instrumentation 

Services – Professional and Technical, Hard and soft services, transport, training, catering

Real engagement with significant contract value is already happening. In the last few years over 200 businesses in the South West have been awarded over £100million of contracts and a further 35 businesses in six supplier groups are preferred bidders for £250million of contract value over the construction period.


As part of a programme of business support and in partnership with East Devon District Council we are holding a small number of one to one business clinics on Thursday 14th April to help explain what opportunities may arise and how best to access the project information. These one to one sessions are limited in number, so please contact Alan on 01823 443425 to book your slot.


As part of its procurement strategy for Hinkley Point C, EDF Energy has partnered with the Somerset Chamber of Commerce to manage the Hinkley Supply Chain Team which is delivering a supply chain solution for EDF Energy and its contractors by engaging with both Somerset and South West businesses that want to become part of the supply chain. With 90 Tier 1 contractors each planning to deliver £100’s of million value contracts and each with multiple Tier 2 and 3 supply chain requirements the opportunity for local and south west supplier is both large and complex. By registering your businesses details and capabilities on your company details can be searched and viewed by the authorised users from the various Tier 1 preferred bidders.

To register your interest in the project and to receive up to date information including details of the various work packages please visit


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