This publication is divided into three sections. The first section outlines the framework of analysis for policy aspects of entrepreneurship development. The first two chapters discuss the entrepreneurial concept, its definition and origin, the meaning of rural entrepreneurship, the reasons for promoting entrepreneurship in rural areas and policies necessary to create a rural environment conducive to entrepreneurship. Women's role in entrepreneurship is also considered. The third chapter gives the overview of the concept of entrepreneurial thinking in the agricultural sector from the post-war period to date and provides suggestions on how to help farmers to become more entrepreneurial-minded, i.e. more flexible and creative in their farming. The last chapter presents public-private partnership and institutional mechanisms that rural communities could use to leverage resources in order to further entrepreneurial activities.
Section II contains five country case studies, selected to illustrate the various policy dimensions that come to light in Section I of this publication. In the opening chapter, the case study of Ireland highlights the experiences of Moy Valley Resources, a rural development company in Ballina, in promoting and facilitating local community development through entrepreneurship. It demonstrates that successful rural development demands co-operation between those involved in local community development initiatives and those who design community development support schemes.
The case study of Norway provides an example of new agricultural policy that advances employment opportunities through encouraging diversification of economic activities in rural areas. The core of this policy is the promotion of entrepreneurship which starts in primary, secondary and tertiary schools on the basis of so called 'pupil enterprise development'. It is an example of how national policy can channel human resources, teachers, the local business community and students as well as parents, in to furthering entrepreneurial activities.
The next three case studies, Minnesota (U.S.A.), Slovenia and Austria, are presented to show how new, innovative support structures, i.e. public-private partnerships and networks, can accelerate rural development. The case study of Minnesota demonstrates why partnership and networking evolved as new configurations of institutions for local economic development initiated by rural communities themselves. It highlights the potential and actual role that women play in this development process by building up partnerships and networks for the development of their rural communities and the role of agricultural advisory services as educators of the rural population to futher the development and the leadership of women and families.
The Slovenian case study demonstrates how the establishment of a community partnership company can become a major instrument in promoting and facilitating development in the rural region. The case study gives a very comprehensive presentation of the establishment of a community partnership company, its strategic objectives, situation analysis, planning process and implementation. It explains why there was a need in the Upper Meza Valley to establish a formal organization to facilitate the development of partnership and networking. The steps involved in setting up a formal organization, its organizational structure and its impact on rural development are also discussed.
The Austrian case study presents the model of rural development which has been successful in the Waldviertel Region. An organizational structure was set up to bring together through networking, those concerned with the regional issues, enabling them to tackle the problems in a spirit of togetherness. It is an example of how the provincial government of Lower Austria promoted the development of an institution capable of carrying out crisis management in the Waldviertel Region. Today Waldviertel Management with its co-operatives and associated businesses is a network of small enterprises that provides assistance to its members and is an important employment generator in the Region by stimulating members to act in true entrepreneurial spirit.
Section III outlines training approaches used by the FAO Regional Office for Europe (REU) (1990 onwards) for rural development. The first chapter outlines training with a global management approach for the economic and social development of a rural area, with entrepreneurship as an important component. The last chapter presents a training programme which considers entrepreneurship as the key factor of rural development and uses an entrepreneurial development programme as a framework for rural development.