The Rubizmo Project

The growing potential of rural areas

Rural areas cover more than 50% of Europe’s surface and are home to over 20% of its population. They host the continent’s natural resources, nurture its biodiversity and feature spectacular landscapes. They also play an important role in Europe’s economy, with the agricultural sector in particular supporting millions of jobs. However, rural areas face numerous challenges. Global competition, automation, changing markets and environmental challenges significantly impact their activities.

RUBIZMO is a new European initiative working to discover the vital ingredients for developing entrepreneurship and successful business models in high potential sectors such as food and agriculture, new bio-based value chains and ecosystem services.

The Rubizmo Approach

New technologies and forms of collaboration amongst actors and sectors, as well as growing acknowledgement of biodiversity and climate change mitigation offer strong opportunities to bring about a new wave of entrepreneurial and economic activity in rural areas. RUBIZMO believes that this new set of dynamics mean that rural economies are ripe for change.

For these opportunities to be fully exploited, rural entrepreneurs and networks need support to cultivate fresh business ideas, choose the right business models and develop thriving environments for economic prosperity.

To tackle this challenge, RUBIZMO experts are analysing business models from hundreds of previous funded and private enterprise initiatives. By examining the reasons for their success – or failure – in the context of their collaboration and support networks, the project will discover and share the key ingredients to recreate innovative business ideas all over Europe.

The RUBIZMO success factors will be shared with a wide number of rural actors through a set of practical tools supporting collaboration, entrepreneurship and business development in rural communities. In addition, active coaching and peer-to-peer training will be provided to rural entrepreneurs and networks to instigate sustainable business transformation.

Special focus will be given to initiatives generating benefits for the economy, environment and society in equal measure

  • Analysis of 100's of innovative business models

  • Practical business models and collaboration tools

  • Capacity building training and resources for entrepreneurs

The new approach to business, entrepreneurship, and collaboration developed and communicated within the RUBIZMO initiative will help to revitalise rural areas and unlocking their potential through the development of new job opportunities, better services and stronger social cohesion. By reinforcing the interlinkages between urban and rural areas, these new perspectives will open the way for more balanced and sustainable territorial development.

Business Tools

The results of the work carried out within RUBIZMO will facilitate the creation of four complementary tools, specifically, designed for rural entrepreneurs, networks, investors and policy makers

RUBIZMO partners will work in close collaboration with rural businesses and networks to validate their findings. Five networks and clusters of agricultural stakeholders are directly involved in the project, providing their practical insights on rural communities and ensuring the adaptation of the project's tools to the needs of end-users.

Their expertise will be complemented by national panels of rural actors in each of the eleven RUBIZMO partner countries. Various types of stakeholders, including policy makers, entrepreneurs and researchers are represented in these panels to share their views on rural development and help to test and fine-tune the business tools.


Three complementary and interlinked sectors have been chosen for analysis because of their commercial potential, prospects for sustainable job creation and social value to rural communities. Food and agriculture, bio-based value chains and ecosystem services all present promising opportunities for rural economies.

Multiple ways exist to exploit the potential of these sectors: valorisation of natural resources and waste streams, technological innovations, and creative forms of partnership fostering environmental protection. All these options will be considered within the RUBIZMO project.