Entrepreneurship is a driving force for rural development. It involves strategic interventions to accelerate and revitalize declining rural economies by expanding business outreach to farm/nonfarm areas. People with entrepreneurial mindsets recognize unexploited market opportunities by thinking intuitively and reading future trends in given circumstances. In a rural context, entrepreneurship means building something meaningful by utilizing local resources not practically perceived or valued previously. In this way, the value of natural, capital, and human resources in rural communities can be recreated in a viable way to take the fullest advantage of them.
The interplay between rural development and entrepreneurship overcomes the constraints of primary industry, mainly agriculture, which is the principal source of income in rural areas. Rural populations are highly dependent on agricultural production, although its performance is volatile due to natural calamities such as droughts, flooding, insect pests, and others. Similarly, achieving drastic yield increases in agriculture is often not controllable.
In this regard, rural entrepreneurship can offer innovative, cost-effective sources of living by crossing the boundaries among primary, secondary, and tertiary industries. It enables local people to appreciate the value of resources in the area and utilize them as inputs for creating value-added products and services. Thus entrepreneurship diversifies sources of livelihood and increases per capita income. Furthermore, it creates jobs for the under/unemployed labor force and improves the autonomy and independence of rural households. In reality, however, nurturing successful entrepreneurs has often faced challenges such as a lack of financial support and social recognition, and rural people rarely start businesses or put their business ideas into practice. Therefore the social infrastructure that underpins entrepreneurs’ entry into markets and makes them resilient against failure needs to be discussed and developed. The entrepreneurial mindset is based on the idea of taking risks, and entrepreneurs should be able to enter and exit markets freely even after experiencing failure.
The course is designed to build the capabilities of rural entrepreneurs, SME operators, and rural development planners, trainers, and consultants who are engaged in business advisory services and/or are interested in initiating businesses in rural areas. At the end of the course, the enrollees will be familiar with innovative entrepreneurial thinking and have an understanding of various entrepreneurial strategies in line with sustainable rural development. The specific objectives are for participants to:
- Understand the concept and special features of entrepreneurship to provide livelihoods for rural populations and foster rural development;
- Enhance the ability to design and manage rural enterprises using different techniques, tools, and models for strategic business development;
- Recognize global trends, the changing environment consistent with agriculture 2030, and emerging topics to identify future challenges and opportunities; and
- Learn about the role of government and institutional setups in developing entrepreneurial mindsets and conducive environments for rural entrepreneurship development.