The 2017 Pinnacle Award, organised by The Exmoor Society, is now open to young people aged between 18 and 27 years who live, work or study in the Greater Exmoor area. It offers up to £3,000 to an individual or group who have an idea for a business venture in relation to agriculture, forestry, conservation, horticulture, craft, tourism, or any outdoor land-based activity.
The award, now in its sixth year, was set up by the Exmoor Society to help young entrepreneurs live and work on Exmoor. As a conservation body, the society fully recognises the importance of providing opportunities for young people to continue to live in the area when they enter the world of work. This award helps to promote the idea that beautiful landscapes and livelihoods can go together.
Previous applications have come from people with ideas as diverse as making cider and developing a herd of pedigree cattle. The award so far has helped fund young people either to set up or take forward businesses such as agricultural contracting, country clothing and woodland management. The successful applicant in 2016 was Tom Lile, a traditional blacksmith and metal-worker who wanted to invest in additional equipment to allow him to extend his capabilities in other metals. This in turn would give him the chance to grow his business and, in the future, offer an apprenticeship to another young person.
The application process is designed to be accessible to all with a basic form to complete and a reference provided by a mentor or sponsor. Applicants will be invited to an informal interview where judges will be looking for business ventures related to Exmoor’s rural character and likely to provide a sustainable living primarily, with perhaps the potential in the future to offer further employment.
The society hopes to attract even more entries for the award this year, which is now open for applications. The closing date is 30 June 2017.