Germinate Enterprise recognised by Cinnamon Network

New programme to help rural communities flourish recognised by Cinnamon Network

Germinate Enterprise, which enables rural churches to help their community flourish, has been accepted as a Cinnamon Network-recognised project.

Developed by Germinate: The Arthur Rank Centre, this business start-up programme can be run by any church to encourage local people to develop their entrepreneurial skills, work out what business to start and check whether it would be viable. Follow up Beer Mat Mentoring material facilitates informal follow up support of aspiring entrepreneurs.

‘We are really excited that Germinate Enterprise has become a Cinnamon Recognised Project,’ said Cinnamon Network founder Matt Bird. ‘Germinate Enterprise is a simple and effective way for local churches to help people in rural communities to create prosperity for their families and their community.  We’re looking forward to seeing local churches across the country start Germinate.’

All the materials can be downloaded free at and there is a short explanatory film.

The development of Germinate Enterprise was supported by the Prince’s Countryside Fund.

‘This is a way people can create real jobs for themselves and others,’ said Jerry Marshall, CEO of Germinate: The Arthur Rank Centre and a serial entrepreneur himself. ‘There is a particular need in rural areas to keep young and working age people by providing local jobs and the growth of high speed rural internet will help reduce the drift to the city.’

‘My dream is to find 1000 facilitators across the country, he added. “That would be transformational.’


Case study 1

Jayne Brassington attended a pilot Germinate Enterprise programme in Worcester in 2015. She and her husband already had a business idea when she came on the course, but she said it was their ‘springboard’. It helped her ‘consolidate their thoughts’. It gave her the business skills she needed and she was encouraged that those leading the course thought her idea was ‘not bonkers’ and that they were ‘looking at a serious business’.

The sold their house and now live in a caravan next to a barn they have purchased in rural Worcestershire. They have a vision to provide spa services and therapies, offer workshops in natural and holistic areas of interest, and provide accommodation for those wanting a break in beautiful surroundings as well as training and meeting facilities for hire. They are developing the barn with passive design to minimise energy cost and efficiency.

They are making progress and already have a salon up and running but also have challenges, especially around funding and development, although their architect is confident that these will be overcome. They expect to be employing around 10 people in five years’ time. 01386 751837 Paddock Barn, Birlingham WR10 3AF


Case study 2

Matt Croxton ran one of the first programmes in Rushton, Northants, with a group that included homeless people. He himself has recently launched a business as a result, . He is planning to start a Beer Mat Mentoring group.


Beer Mat Mentoring

CW74: Rural Business Chaplaincy

Having been one of those children who would sit at school staring out of the window daydreaming, it was no surprise that I left school at 16 for a YTS course in agriculture, followed by a horticulture and agriculture course and my first job on a dairy farm in Kent. But my career was cut short when I was diagnosed with epilepsy. After training for ordained ministry I served my curacy in a rural benefice of seven churches in Kent, and in my new role as Rural Business Chaplain I am now able to combine my calling to the priesthood with my calling to work within agriculture.