For two years the RurInno research and training project investigated how social enterprises in rural Europe foster social innovation and rural development. While policy makers and researchers direct high expectations towards social enterprises, little is known about how social enterprises operate in rural regions, how they generate and facilitate innovative solutions and contribute to rural development. It is said that social enterprises combine the innovative power of entrepreneurs with the mission to fight social challenges. They are regarded as players who operate in areas where the state and the market fail to satisfy social needs. This makes them promising actors in marginalized rural regions. Today many rural areas in Europe face problems like the brain drain of young and well skilled people, a lack of qualified jobs and shortages in the provision of public and private services like public transport, schooling and local supply.
The Final Symposium provides a participative forum to share and discuss the acquired knowledge and experiences with academics and practitioners who do research and operate in the field of social entrepreneurship, social innovation and rural development. The goals of the symposium are:
- To relate the results and experiences of the RurInno project to findings and experiences made in other research projects and this way to intensify the research-research exchange.
- To foster the exchange between research and practice and to discuss opportunities to overcome barriers for research-practice transfer.
- To reflect jointly about questions like “How do rural social enterprises generate and foster innovation?” and “How do rural social enterprises contribute to rural development and change?”
- To identify research gaps and practical needs in order to pave the way for future research (like the H2020 RurAction project) and to create enabling ecosystems for rural social enterprises.
A detailed programme and registration will be available in the near future.