New Entrant Support Scheme – pilot information

A faming landscape, with sheep pictured in fields and trees in the background

In November 2022 Defra launched a pilot for a proposed New Entrant Support Scheme, provided by regional pilot leads. There was a quick turnaround for applications, with deadlines in December. 

Prior to this, Defra had appointed pilot leads via a tendering process to operate the pilot from November 2022 until spring 2023.

Defra was looking to use the pilot to test incubation:

  • providing tactical support to young businesses through the early stages of development
  • nurturing entrepreneurs to further develop a business idea
  • encouraging innovation and growth

Those taking part will be supported to pitch for the land and finance they may be after.


The pilot was available to the following NFU members:

  • individuals with some farming experience, but not their own land-based business
  • individuals with four to 10 years’ experience running a land-based farming business

Recruitment deadline

Defra aimed to recruit about 200 pilot participants in total. Recruitment activity information can be found at: New Entrant Support Scheme: apply for the pilot | GOV.UK

Term / costs

The pilot will run into spring 2023.

Pilot activities were to take place in the evenings and on weekends, they can be carried out online at a time that works for you.

There was no cost to participants.

Organisation that are running the pilots

Project type: Rural land-based opportunities

Region Pilot lead
West Midlands Harper Adams University
South West School for Social Entrepreneurs

Project type: Peri-urban land-based opportunities

Region Pilot lead
North East School for Social Entrepreneurs
South West The Landworkers' Alliance
South East Shared Assets

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