EIP-AGRI workshop "Young entrepreneurs - Engines of innovation in rural areas" (30 Nov-1 December 2022)

30 November, 2022 - All day - 1 December, 2022 -

The EIP-AGRI workshop ‘Young entrepreneurs – Engines of innovation in rural areas’ will take place in Dublin, Ireland, on Wednesday 30 November and Thursday 1 December 2022.

The workshop will focus on exchanging knowledge and sharing innovative, inspirational practices that can support young entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems in rural areas.

Event description and objectives

Rural shrinkage, due to ageing populations and rural out-migration of young people, is on the rise in the EU. Currently, about 30% of the EU’s population lives in rural areas (even less in remote areas) but this share is expected to keep decreasing in coming decades.

Depopulated rural regions often provide lower incomes and fewer job opportunities. Furthermore, the out-migration of younger, skilled workers results in ageing populations, which hinders generational renewal and the development of rural entrepreneurship and business opportunity. As highlighted in the Long-Term Vision for Rural Areas of the European Commission, the impact of these negative demographic trends can hamper the change towards development, opportunity and a more sustainable future of rural areas.

Even though rural areas provide significant resources and services, both tangible and intangible (such as natural capital, environmental services, quality of life, culture, tradition and know-how), these are often undervalued, poorly understood and unexplored.

Considering all these factors, this workshop will look into existing instruments and opportunities within the EU Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), and within the Research and Innovation programme Horizon Europe (HE), to support and promote young innovators/entrepreneurs and start-ups in rural communities. The event will help to provide and implement new solutions in rural areas, generating increased interest and employment opportunities, and enriching the quality of life in these areas.

Overall aim

The overall aim of the workshop is to support young entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems and their actors in rural areas. This will be done by showcasing good practices from EIP-AGRI Operational Groups, Horizon projects and other EU-funded programmes, and by highlighting leadership examples from local communities, and innovators in rural communities.

This will demonstrate that rural areas and communities can be an attractive place for internal and external innovators and start-ups, for developing sustainable processes of economic, social, and territorial development. These can be based not only on more innovative and integrated land management practices and diversification of rural businesses, but also as a source of talent and innovators. In relation to this, young people are generally more keen to embrace innovations in different sectors. They can be considered front-runners in strengthening the innovation ecosystems in rural areas, and can contribute to tackling some of the challenges posed by the demographic decline. In addition, this can contribute to a more positive and inclusive image of rural areas, making them more attractive, stimulating rural economies and creating new opportunities as envisaged by the Long-Term Vision for Rural Areas.

The concept of an enabling environment for entrepreneurship needs a broader, holistic approach. It should show the diversified sources with infrastructure, supported by various public development funds as well as private funds. Cultural contexts change. Therefore, capacity building for innovation in rural areas should be considered a long-term strategy, not only for farming but also for other businesses with orientation of funds that add value for motivating young entrepreneurs that are settling in rural areas.

Specific objectives

  • Showcase innovative businesses and start-ups led by young entrepreneurs in rural areas.
  • Explore opportunities offered under the CAP and HE to support young entrepreneurs and start-ups in rural areas.
  • Identify the needs and barriers for young entrepreneurs to develop new businesses in rural areas.
  • Promote young entrepreneurship ecosystems within local rural communities
  • Activate networking among stakeholders to support innovation and young entrepreneurs in rural areas.

Target group

The workshop will focus on good practices of young innovative entrepreneurial initiatives, in different stages of development, in EU rural areas. This will include but will not be limited to farming, forestry and environmental productions and services.

Other participants will include advisors, researchers, representatives from start-ups and other associations, chambers of agriculture, industry, processors, other public and managing entities/bodies, local authorities, and press.

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More information about EIP-AGRI workshop "Young entrepreneurs - Engines of innovation in rural areas" (30 Nov-1 December 2022)