Sustainable Rural Development is a process across a range of rural situations, from decline, all the way to flourishing. It is a journey which takes Rural communities through a trajectory from over- reliance on (often declining) agricultural employment to self-employment using the various rural assets around them. Examples of this trajectory can be found throughout Europe, yet there are many places where communities are starting out at the very beginning of the process.
A previous EEA Norway Czech project developed and delivered a course in Innovative Community Development. This course helps participants identify the opportunities presented by their rural region and inspires them to work to make their business dreams come true. The Czech and Norwegian partner share knowledge and expertise, and coincidentally, delivered the course to over 40 potential rural entrepreneurs in the Czech republic. Another project brought EEA funds to help create a 21st Century Learning Centre at Czesky Krumlov Castle. A course, and a place to hold it, is, however, necessary but not sufficient to create a vital and sustainable rural development sector in a place. Participants in courses and meetings become inspired, and gain access to tools which help them plan their project. However, once the course is over, they lose contact with both their fellow students (fellow entrepreneurs) and teachers. Feedback from students confirms good practice examples that they need to participate in a network of endogenous rural development on an ongoing basis. In such a network they can find inspiration, examples, new ideas and approaches, and guidance and access to knowledge to help them overcome unexpected problems. Just as sustainable development is an on-going process, so those engaged in sustainable development need sustained access to inspiration, information and companions. The Aim of this project is to provide the foundation for the development of such a network in the Czech Republic.
The overall objective and expected benefits of the project
The overall objective of the project is for the two institutions to develop and share knowledge on supporting vocational change for residents of rural areas which are facing developmental and demographic challenges. The project will deliver innovative new ways of supporting rural economic development, through network building, contributing to the social sustainability of the rural regions the two institutions serve, as well as creating a further basis for ongoing cooperation between them. It will strengthen the human capital and knowledge base not only for the two institutions, but also for the communities they serve, thereby helping rural residents create a thriving local rural economy which retains its young people and offers new and innovative opportunities for them to realize their dreams.
This project will consolidate the inter-institutional cooperation begun in the first EEA-Czech project.
Secondary objectives of the project
The Secondary Objectives of the Sustaining Rural Community Enterprise project focus on what will be delivered to those who are engaged in rural economic development in the two nations. Those engaged in vocational transition from agricultural employee to rural entrepreneur require sustained support, both from expert institutions and from each other. By working together to develop the necessary expertise and knowledge for support, as well as jointly developing and delivering the two workshops, the two institutions will achieve their secondary objectives of supporting actual rural entrepreneurs in our two nations.