Smart Rural Entrepreneurship


Priority axis Enterpreneurship and Innovation
Specific Objective Competitive territories
Call 1st Call for Project Proposals
Lead Partner Regional Development Agency of Western Macedonia S.A.
Partners Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, School of Economics
Bulgaria Economic Forum
Center for Development of Pelagonija Planning Region
Local Economic Development Agency – Razlog
Major Development Agency Thessaloniki S.A.
Panagrotikos Association of Cyprus
Budget 813.978,46 €

The project involves the cooperation of Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus and the Republic of North Macedonia in order to enable joint approaches to common development issues that rural regions are facing. Specifically, they want to mitigate specific structural & socio-economic challenges, such as low income levels, lack of employment opportunities, deteriorating quality of life, depopulation processes and directly improving quality of life for the residents of rural areas.

The project area includes extensive large rural areas in five countries with comparative advantages that are precious asset for regional economy and especially in green, blue, tourism industries & social economy. Intervention area is the same geographical area that covers the LEADER program where knowhow & synergies with local actions groups will be capitalized. The economic downturn provides an opportunity for the reconstruction of production base, considering the endogenous potential & comparative advantages of each region in accordance with the principles of smart specialization, such as the reconstruction of the productive base & local development through a bottom up approach. The establishment of networks could play a decisive role in such a development process in rural areas, which will contribute to serving common interests at local level, exchanging good practices with other local communities with common features, exploiting human potential, knowledge & experience, maximizing the utilization of endogenous socioeconomic potential and local comparative advantages of each region and local community extroversion.        

The main goal of the project is the creation of transnational cooperation for the enhancement of entrepreneurship in rural areas for five Balkan countries through SmartRural model specialization based on the principles of innovation, sustainable economic growth & increase of wellbeing. The project seeks to achieve these objectives through the provision of technical, financial and advisory support to entrepreneurs. Parallel, it will provide technical assistance to the rural public authorities for their managing and administrative routine and procedures in order to apply and implement a business welcome policy based on the principles of smart specialization. All these are comprised in a SmartRural development model.

For local authorities and the rest of key stakeholders, the project will allow a deeper insight and access to know how, related to effective methodologies and tools for sustainable rural development. That will be achieved by establishing a business oriented transnational network and through the application of a SmartRural specialized development model in view of mitigate specific structural and socio-economic challenges.

The main outputs of the project will be:
1. Electronic bank of knowledge tools;
2. Web Site with e-services;
3. Permanent structures of consultation and support services;
4. At least 10 enterprises and or startups receiving consultation services.

Communication Plan

SMARTRURAL Communication Plan