Rural businesses – The future is now

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Rural areas and rural economies are undergoing massive change. Rural businesses – both farm and non-farm – are having to navigate the future in the face of increasingly competitive and volatile global value chains, climate change, resource depletion, major population shifts, digitisation and rapidly evolving new technologies. In this situation, business as usual is simply not an option.
The future for rural businesses is, and has to be, now. In this spirit, the recent Cork Declaration argues that rural areas have a number of potential advantages which can create the conditions for future rural prosperity and vitality as well as delivering “innovative, inclusive and sustainable solutions for current and future societal challenges”.
There is already a very wide range of EU, national and regional initiatives designed to help European businesses to make the most of the challenges and opportunities mentioned above. These include policies for digitisation, smart specialisation and social innovation. This seminar will allow different rural stakeholders to;

  • Examine these and other key policies for business innovation through a rural lens. Participants will be able to share lessons and experience about how support tools can be made “fit for rural business” (in other words, initiate “rural proofing” as recommended by the Cork Declaration)
  • Share inspiring examples of business innovation and explore how such initiatives can be extended in practice through the Rural Development Programmes.

The Rural Development Programmes deploy a powerful combination of measures and tools which can support all kinds of rural businesses. These include an expected 2600 LEADER groups and some 3200 Operational Groups as well as measures for knowledge transfer, advice and a range of investment measures. Participants will explore how RDP support to business innovation can be coordinated and improved - both now and in the future.

Related upcoming events

  • 2019-02-28 - 2019-03-02 All day

    World society is facing a comprehensive social-ecological crisis related to fast political, economic, tech-nological and social changes. The current economic model and its forms of excessive resource extrac-tion and use exacerbate ecological problems and conflicts, generates political instability and increases social inequalities. There is emerging agreement in science, politics and society that a fundamental transformation is needed. Some stakeholders frame the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as an important step towards recognising and addressing the most pressing transfor-mation needs. However, many scholars argue that such a transformation requires a more radical change of current modes of production and living as well as development pathways instead of mere technological and managerial solutions.
    In this context, the extraction, distribution, use and disposal of natural resources are of crucial im-portance. We acknowledge resources as a biophysical materiality and, at the same time, as a social, ecological and in the end as a political ‘construct’, and part of the powerfully-structured social rela-tions. Such a perspective intends to overcome the dichotomy between society and nature in a wider concept of ‘societal nature relations’. A better comprehension of the multidimensional character of resources as well as a multiscale perspective is needed to achieve a better understanding of the com-plex nexus between resources and transformation potentials.
    Following the first conference (“Towards International Resource Fairness - Theories, Conflicts and Pol-icies” in 2014, see also programme, documentation and conference publication), the 2nd Austrian Con-ference on International Resource Politics focuses on the role of natural resources for a social-ecolog-ical transformation. Highlighting a North-South-perspective, the conference aims to analyse past, pre-sent and future challenges for transformation pathways that take global inequalities, geopolitics but also transnational resistance and forms of cooperation into account. The goal of the conference is to bring together researchers, practitioners and activists from different regions and disciplines to advance inter- and transdisciplinary research.
    Are welcome contributions from any field of political science, development studies, geography, eco-nomics, sociology, social ecology, law and related disciplines and kindly invite you to submit proposals in one of the following areas:
     Theoretical and empirical reflections on the current social-ecological crisis related to natural resources, and their potentials and limits for transformations.
     Looking to the past to understand the future: contributions from environmental and socio-economic history.
     Methodologies and approaches assessing e.g. the economic, political, social, legal, and envi-ronmental impacts of resource extraction.
     Analysis and evaluation of public and private policies and governance of natural resources (e.g. laws, codes, standards, certification schemes, labels).
     Theoretical and empirical contributions on topics such as resource conflicts, territorial dynam-ics of resource frontiers or (global) commodity chains in context of social-ecological transfor-mations.
    The proposals should be submitted in PDF format until 5th October 2018 to agef@uibk.ac.at in one of these three forms:
    1) Individual Papers, including a title, an abstract (300-500 words) and a short CV (50-70 words);
    2) Special Sessions (consisting of 3-4 thematic papers), including a session description (300-500 words) as well as title, abstract and short CV (200 words) for the individual papers of the ses-sion.
    3) Open Workshops with interactive features on the conference topic for/from practitioners and scientists. This form especially aims to promote transdisciplinary dialog. Proposal should in-clude a description of the workshop, methodology and goals (approx. 300-500 words) and short CV of the organizer(s) (50-70 words).
    This conference is organized by the Research Platform on Resource Fairness, consisting of the Institute of Geography at the University of Innsbruck, the Austrian Foundation for Development Research (ÖFSE), the Department of Political Science at the University of Vienna and the Institute of Social Ecol-ogy at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna.
    All relevant information on the conference will be soon available at the conference website: https://www.uibk.ac.at/congress/resource-conference/. Please direct further inquiries to agef@uibk.ac.at.

  • 2019-03-14 14:30 - 2019-03-14 18:30

    Joint European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)/ European Rural Parliament (ERP) Conference on making rural areas the engines of a sustainable Europe.

    The ERP and the EESC are both concerned about the future of rural areas, which policy-makers and politicians generally tend to neglect. In their own way, both do their utmost to enliven rural areas so that people want to live and work in them.

    Both the EESC and the ERP have urged the EU to come up with actions in support of rural areas, in an effort to steer policy in the direction set out in the Cork 2.0 Declaration. The EESC's Section for Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment and the European Rural Parliament plan to organise a joint, web-streamed event on 14 March 2019 on EESC premises. The topic of discussion will be how, in the light of upcoming policy changes (The Reflection Paper "Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030", Common Agricultural Policy, Multiannual Financial Framework, etc.), to better integrate the aspect of the future of Europe's rural areas into the policies of the next European Commission and European Parliament with the aim to promote a more Sustainable Europe.

    A draft programme and registration form will be available soon. For any questions, please email nat-events@eesc.europa.eu

  • 2019-06-17 - 2019-06-19 All day
    17th Rural Entrepreneurship Conference - 17th-19th June 2019, Inverness
    Hosted by Impact Hub Inverness/University of the Highlands and Islands

    Keynote Speaker: Professor Mark Shucksmith
    ​Day 2 Plenary - Showcase of HIE's support for rural entrepreneurship over the last 50+ years

    Abstracts are invited from researchers in any of the following themes:

    • Entrepreneurship, farming, land use and the natural environment
    • Digital Rural Entrepreneurship
    • International dimensions of rural entrepreneurship
    • New approaches in rural theory, method and measurement
    • Opportunities and challenges for rural development
    • Rural Innovation, EU funding and the role of Universities
    • Rural Social Entrepreneurship
    • Rural Place Marketing 
    • Rural tourism, heritage and cultural entrepreneurship
    • Entrepreneurship, Islands and 'Islandness'
    • Rural entrepreneurship development and education
    Practitioner papers and reports, case studies and academic research papers are welcome.

    Abstracts should be emailed to polly.chapman@impacthub.net  by 15th February 2019. Click here for the abstract template.  Please contact the organisers if you have any queries.

    ​The conference will take place at Inverness Town House and the conference programme is available to view here. Please note it is still a draft at this early stage but it will be updated regularly. 

    Early Bird rates are £215 if booked before 1 April 2019. This will increase to £250 from 2 April 2019. For PhD students, the fee is £180. This includes a civic reception at Inverness Town House on the evening of the 17th, and a gala dinner on the 18th which will be held at the Glen Mhor Hotel on the banks of the River NessPlease complete the booking form below before purchasing your tickets.

    ​We have secured a deal for student accommodation at the new UHI campus for the reasonable rate of £60 per night for a single en-suite room including wifi. The UHI campus is out of town with good bus links, and is approximately a 10-15 minute drive away by car to the city centre. Take a look at their fantastic rooms and please email if you would like to book a room for the duration of the conference.

    If you are looking for accommodation in the heart of Inverness we have also secured a group booking deal for accommodation at Inverness Pentahotelwhich is centrally located, with comfortable guest rooms, free Wifi, use of a 24-hour gym, and includes a buffet breakfast. A special rate of £169 per night is available if booked by 3 May 2019 and you will need to quote 'REC19' when booking either by phone: 01463 228850, or by email. You can also choose to upgrade to a 'penta plus' room for an additional £10 per night. We advise you to book as soon as possible as there are only 20 rooms secured at this price.

    ​There are some city centre budget hotel options too and if you book early you can get some good deals - Travelodge Inverness City Centre and Premier Inn River Ness are all within walking distance of the conference venue and both relatively new. Or if you want to explore more accommodation options have a look at the national tourist board website - VisitScotland