Exploring the sustainability of small rural veterinary enterprise

Colette Henry, Jonathan Rushton, Sarah Baillie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the sustainability of small rural veterinary enterprise in light of recent changes in both the farming and veterinary sectors. The overarching research question relates to how small rural veterinary enterprises, especially those at the start-up stage, can meet the needs of their farming clients while ensuring their service offering is both viable and sustainable.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper draws on relevant rural enterprise and veterinary literatures as well as case data, and applies selected elements of Scott’s (2008) 7-P sustainability framework.

Findings – The authors find that the future sustainability of rural veterinary SMEs is dependent on the veterinary business owners being prepared to change with their clients, develop supportive partnerships and create effective marketing strategies. The authors use the findings to construct an innovative business model to help improve future sustainability of farm animal veterinary business.

Research limitations/implications – The paper adopts a single case approach.
Practical/implications – Some policy implications are discussed alongside avenues for future research. The paper contributes to the rural enterprise, agriculture and veterinary business literatures.

Originality/value – This is one of the few rural enterprise studies contextualized in the veterinary sector. The findings should be of value to both practitioners and policy makers concerned with ensuring future sustainability in this important sector.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-273
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Small Businesses and Enterprise Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2016


  • Sustainability
  • Farm
  • Rural enterprise
  • Veterinary business


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