There is a need on various governance levels to meet the challenges that structurally weak rural regions face. In addition to local and regional actors, representatives at national and European levels have to address specific problems like the lack of specialized workers, social exclusion, poverty, financial limitations and crumbling infrastructure. The RurInno researchers and practitioners discussed the possible impact of social entrepreneurs in this regard with representatives of regional and rural policy making organisations on the European level on the occasion of the Policy Round Table on “Social Entrepreneurship as Driver of Change in Marginalised Rural Europe” on May 23, 2017, in Brussels.
In the course of the event, a first draft of a Policy Brief was presented and discussed between the members of the RurInno consortium and the policy makers. The Policy Brief was developed by the researchers and the practitioners working on the project. It outlines the challenges and necessary framework for social entrepreneurship in rural regions and formulates policy recommendations for actors on various levels. Among the issues discussed in the Policy Round Table were the role that social enterprises could play in rural societies and economies, sustainable business models for social innovation, and whether voluntarism could be a useful component of social entrepreneurship in this context. The project consortium received valuable feedback from the discussion, which will be included in the final version of the Policy Brief. In addition, good contacts with policy makers on the EU level could be established, and will be further deepened in the project.