As many countries rural areas are facing the same contemporary societal challenges, such as a tightening economy and diminishing local services, there is a need to find new tools for rural communities to cope with the future.
There is much local potential, embedded knowledge and skill in rural communities to improve local service provision and employment, but the people usually do not recognize this or know how to make full use of it. One possible solution to address the need is the development of locally based social enterprise (SE). Social entrepreneurship can be defined as entrepreneurship that has a strong social goal where profits are reinvested back into the local community. The concept is, however, relatively novel in rural development across much of Europe. This is why there is a need to raise the capacity of local people to better address the community potential and needs by in-creasing their knowledge and skills of community activation, partnerships and networking, busi-ness thinking and recognizing the social impacts of social entrepreneurship in local communities.
The project is aimed to individuals who are interested in developing and sustaining their rural communities, who are willing to consider socially enterprising solutions to assist their rural areas or individuals who already have an idea for social enterprise in rural areas, as well as individuals al-ready engaged in social enterprise activity but wish to gain new skills, knowledge and expertise to assist them in their venture. Nearly 300 participants will be engaged in learning while participating in the actions of the project.
The project outcomes will include Open access learning material, International Network of Rural Social Enterprises and Practical Guidebook of Good Practices for supporting the development of social entrepreneurship (SE) in rural areas. Results of the project will be shared through dissemi-nating outputs in the open access format. All products and materials will be available and accessi-ble online to all who are interested in social entrepreneurship and community development.
The project is funded by EU Erasmus+ Strategic partnership for adult education. The Finnish Na-tional Agency for Education is hosting the national agency for the European Union’s education and youth programmes.
More information and links to the project’s materials will be available in project partner’s websites: Estonian University of Life Sciences (EMU), Estonia: www.emu.ee/en/home/ The Bucharest University of Economic Studies (ASE), Romania: www.ase.ro/index_en.asp Nürtingen-Geislingen University (NGU), Germany: www.hfwu.de/en/ Inspiralba, Scotland: www.inspiralba.org.uk/ University of Helsinki Ruralia Institute, Finland (coordinator): www.helsinki.fi/en/ruralia-institute