Cultivating rural business success
On 7 October 2021, partners from the RUBIZMO initiative, funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 Programme to discover the vital ingredients for rural business success, shared their findings with over 100 European stakeholders, from policy makers to representatives of trade associations and cooperatives, working hard to make rural development a reality across Europe.
The event was structured into three main sections: a policy roundtable, a workshop on the tools developed by both projects and finally a workshop focusing on cross-regional collaboration and learning.
The policy roundtable featured speakers from the EESC, European Network for Rural Development (ENRD), LIVERUR, RUBIZMO and founders of agricultural start-ups represented by Christine Hebert from Blue Lobster and Oana Maria Iliescu from Taina Vie. Being able to have the European institutions and development networks at the same table as real rural businesses provided rich and robust discussions concerning the needs of rural entrepreneurs – apart from simply funding.
The second session, moderated by LIVERUR, allowed for an interactive session between panelists and attendees whereby the two projects’ tools and results were explained in a clear and easy to understand manner – looking at the concrete benefits of each tool for the specific stakeholder group concerned. The discussions also focused on how the tools were developed, how flexible the tools are and finally how interested parties can use the tools. RUBIZMO was represented by Professor Gerhard Schiefer (PROQUANTIS) who presented the Transformation Tool and the Network and Cooperation Tool. Philipp Grundmann (ATB) presented the Business Environment Tool, and Thomas Norrby (SLU) the e-learning platform developed by RUBIZMO.
In the final session, the event moved to breakout rooms where attendees could become participants and add their voice to the discussions. Participants focused on the following questions during the breakout rooms:
- What does it take to enhance sustainable business development?
- Which tool is the most useful? Why?
- What policy recommendations can make a difference?
- How can we engage young people in rural areas?
As a result of the discussions in the breakout rooms, participants agreed on some key points to focus activities:
- Strengthen local actions are not strong enough
- Project partners should work more on improving existing tools for rural actors and not designing new ones from the ground up
- Promote tools and activities that encourage more women and young people to become rural entrepreneurs
- Group tools according to regional and sectorial focus
Over 200 people registered for the final event and the event itself had a peak audience of 151 attendees from a wide range of stakeholder groups. A recording of the event is available here on RUBIZMO’s Youtube channel.