The role of rural areas for the prosperity of the European Union (EU) is widely acknowledged. Meanwhile, rural areas tend to lose their positions and opportunities in an increasingly urbanizing world. Despite the diversity of rural areas in terms of their socio-economic performances, natural characteristics, and cultural heritage, most of them demonstrate intrinsic fragility in social, economic and environmental aspects, and, consequently, different rural areas face common challenges, experience depreciation of their values and underutilization of the opportunities they are able to provide.
The OREN project aims to develop a frame of online, training tools and materials to enhance a sustainable mobilization of resources, a cooperation between operators along the rural value chains, and the deployment of new business models. The approach is: establish a multi-stakeholder interaction, as a valuable strategy to enhance the modern rural economy opportunities; build and transfer a “dynamic capability”, which can help rural actors to engage in multistakeholder interaction for sustainability and maintain their profits at the same time; increase the business skills of rural entrepreneurs by promoting continued education and training in advanced aspects of business management.
Partners are currently working on the identification, understanding and assessment of both the origins and development of good business practices in rural areas and the factors that influence the conversion of starting businesses into successfully established ones. The cases can be related to many aspects of the sustainable development in rural areas, such as renewable energies, tourism, agriculture, circular economy, cultural heritage, and also valorisation of secondary raw material.
One of the EURE partners, ACR+, is involved in the project to build opportunities of collaboration between rural entrepreneurs and local and regional authorities. Thus, ACR+ has developed a survey addressed to rural entrepreneurs and that aims at defining the main barriers and challenges that they face on their everyday work, and the needed skills to foster a rural business. The survey is available in English, French and Dutch.