• fiona3233

A new definition of ‘rural’

We all need a little bit of help to understand what ‘rural business’ looks like in 21st Century Scotland.

It means freshly baked sourdough, independent cinemas, outdoor adventure sports, cutting edge digital design, vegan cafes, artisan chocolates, chic hair salons, skilled trades for every building stage and a whole lot more.

Life and work in the towns and villages of rural Scotland revolves around enterprising individuals and small businesses all supporting each other, shopping locally and collaborating for the benefit of their local community.

We’d like to stamp out the dusty, mothball connotations of the term ‘rural’ which wrongly perceive a lack of opportunity for sectors outside traditional agriculture and land-based industries. These old perceptions must be replaced with an awareness of the diversity, innovation and sheer creativity of enterprise outwith Scotland’s city limits.

Perhaps some of the hard facts will help put things into perspective:

Most of our country is rural

2% of Scotland’s land mass (mainland + island) is small town and city urban, 98% is remote/accessible rural. (1)

Home to a fifth of our population

A fifth of Scotland’s population lives in rural areas. (2)

Micro is the norm

9 out of 10 rural businesses are micro-businesses with fewer than 10 employees. (2)

A higher proportion of employment from small business

68% of the workforce in remote rural and 54% in accessible rural Scotland work for small businesses compared to 32% in the rest of Scotland. (2)

A higher percentage of small businesses means our rural communities are dependent upon the continued success of these micro-firms to provide jobs, attract visitors and stimulate the economic activity that supports rural areas. Shopping locally has always been culturally important for rural communities but now, in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, it's critical to encourage a new drive for local buying.

The REDS Card, by definition, encourages card holders to shop locally, and ensures that money is diverted to our rural businesses where there is less passing trade and typically smaller volumes of sales than their urban counterparts.

Only rural enterprises can join the card scheme, meaning REDS Card holders can choose from a diverse collection of businesses to spend their card’s credit and know that whatever they choose they are supporting rural micro-businesses and social enterprises.

So the next time you're looking for a gift, choose to support Scotland’s rural businesses by purchasing a REDS Gift Card.

Purchase a REDS Card here.


  1. Source: Rural Enterprise Futures, September 2019.

  2. Source: Inter-Departmental Business Register, 2017.

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