Revitalising Rural Communities | Special Issue 2022
In the last couple of years, global civilisation has faced unprecedented challenges. The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified existing challenges, such as a lack of digitalisation and digital literacy. Rural depopulation is on the rise, with more than 7.9 million Europeans expected to move to urban areas by 2050. This depopulation is thus becoming a major policy challenge in Europe. Increasingly more and more employment opportunities have been concentrated in urban centers, leaving rural regions with ever-continuing down-fall in terms of population size and economic development. Issues of digitalisation, social exclusion and deteriorating living conditions are only intensifying. There is a pressing need to address these issues for the future of Europe’s rural regions and its people.
Entrepreneurship Education has a key role to play here. Community-Based Learning (CBL) approaches to entrepreneurial skills development and the establishment of Rural Councils can provide a unique opportunity for residents of rural areas to address these challenges from the bottom up, engaging in collaboration with local stakeholders. And lifelong learning opportunities can inspire the rural unemployed to transition from job seekers to job creators, creating a knock-on effect of development and growth, resulting in a brighter future for the region.
In this special issue, we examine the potential for Entrepreneurship Education to support rural development. First of all, we focus our attention on how former industrial regions have been redeveloped through university-business-government collaboration, entrepreneurship, and the active involvement of local residents to create modern, sustainable and thriving communities. We then move to look at how rural residents have created start-ups to empower the European rural community and tackle collective issues. These projects highlight the key role of higher education institutions in these efforts, being key provides of lifelong learning opportunities and facilitating connections and partnerships between diverse rural stakeholders.
The selection of the articles in this issue is carefully curated to not only reflect the necessities, but also highlight the possibilities of supporting rural development through Entrepreneurship Education. It is important to mention that this special issue has been inspired by our Erasmus+ project ARDENT (Advancing Rural Development through Entrepreneurship Education for Adults). The ARDENT Project provided great insights and the selected articles for this issue inspired us to examine rural entrepreneurship education initiatives.
Title: University Industry Interaction Magazine – Revitalising Rural Communities (Special Issue 2022)