Make regions attractive.
Initiatives should be developed to attract entrepreneurial people from other areas to set up businesses, using marketing and promotion of the districts to a targeted entrepreneurial audience and taking advantage of the local contacts they may have. Local people currently living outside of the districts but who maintain family linkages should be a particular target group for such measures, because they will find it easier to recognise the quality of life and business opportunities the districts have to offer (e.g. lower living costs, access to grants, natural beauty) and may also have social reasons to return.
Focus on identifying local and regional assets and converting them into entrepreneurial activity.
There is a tendency in economically challenged communities, including those in rural areas, to emphasize their problems and deficiencies, often as a means of attracting public sector investment and support. As a consequence, it becomes difficult to see opportunities that may translate into economic advantage. An intentional mapping of local and regional assets – even the poorest rural communities have some assets, whether human, social, physical, or financial – can yield possibilities that might attract entrepreneurial interest and help improve economic competitiveness.
Embed entrepreneurship education into the school and college curricula, and into workforce training programs.
Broadening education and career preparation to increase creating and growing businesses is potentially a powerful way to retain young people in rural communities. It also opens up new possibilities for dependent employees in trades and other professions, as well as those in agriculture and forestry, to consider how they can create their own business, particularly when they are not getting adequate rewards from their current employment and do not want to move away to the cities for better prospects.
Generate local community support for entrepreneurship to increase the chances that entrepreneurs will be successful in their ventures.
If people trying to start and expand their businesses are treated with suspicion or are not valued in the community, they will either abandon their venture or move elsewhere. Rural entrepreneurship has to be embraced by community leaders as an effective alternative to attracting companies to relocate from other places.
Organise support services for entrepreneurs into effective networked systems for providing resources such as technical assistance and training, access to capital, land and buildings, and regulatory guidance.
The aim should be to bring in ways that increase efficiency and reduce transaction costs while maintaining or improving quality outreach to dispersed rural entrepreneurs. Relationships and networks will be critical in ensuring that integrated and comprehensive support is available for those entrepreneurs with the motivation to create jobs and wealth in rural communities. Particular attention will have to be paid to regulatory frameworks and the time it takes to obtain regulatory approvals.
Connect rural entrepreneurs to external markets, regionally, nationally, and internationally so that they are not dependent upon stagnant local markets for their goods and services.
Strategies are likely to include the use of information and communication technologies for e-commerce, collaborative marketing strategies that might be sectoral, geographic, or both, and the fostering of networks and exchanges between entrepreneurs across regional and national boundaries. Technical assistance and training will need to be retooled to emphasise the importance of accessing broader markets for products and services. With the right support, good ideas and people can be nurtured through commercialisation to the point at which they can attract venture capital investment. Using the appropriate networks, rural-based entrepreneurs can be connected to resources and markets outside their own region to create successful businesses.
Expand technology support and activities.
The establishment and further development of external R&D services could help SMEs in rural areas to innovate. It might be that a district perceives itself as too small to create by themselves the innovation support infrastructures necessary for SMEs. In this case, collaboration with neighbouring Districts or thematically related higher education institutions should be sought.
International Learning Models
Good Practice in East Germany