Social entrepreneurship – the heart of rural development

Within the framework of the Erasmus + project “Rural Treasures”, in which Institute of Entrepreneurship Development participates as a partner, a study is being carried out on the resources that can be found in a rural area where you live and can be used to develop social entrepreneurship.

This study is based on desk researched and presents data for each partner country: Latvia, Spain, Netherlands, Greece, Czech Republic, Romania, Italy, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

In particular, are presented the which are the main sectors in each country for the social entrepreneurship development: tourism, gastronomy, agriculture, farming?

What social, environmental, cultural or other relevant resources can be found valuable for the development of each region? And last, which are the most appropriate ways for developing a social enterprise in a rural area?

In Thessaly region of Greece, the research showed that are 5 main sectors of the economy that focus on: agriculture, industry, transport, tourism, and energy. Social entrepreneurship is very active in the region. Officially exists 80 social enterprises, and the majority of them are involved in the:

i) Cultural activities and events iv) Health care and support (infants, elderly, PWDS, children)
ii) Local and agricultural products v) Environment care
iii) Social care and responsibility (PWDS, vulnerable groups, children, elderly) vi) Events organization

The “rural treasures” of the region, the main activities of its population focuses on:

  • agricultural activities such as the cultivation of grapes for an for an excellent quality production of wine, olive trees for an excellent quality production of olive oil, medical and aromatic plants (Pelion Mountain was known for its rich range of pharmaceutical herbs and Olympus mountain was known for its essential plants – endemics that are found only on this mountain and nowhere in the world), etc.
  • livestock farming such as the production of an excellent quality dairy products. The most known dairy product is “Feta” cheese.
  • Tourism. Some of the most visited touristic attractions are: Meteora (UNESCO Cultural Heritage Monument), Mountain Olympus (mountain of the ancient Greek gods), Mountain Pelion, valley of Tempi, Lake Plastira and Sporades Islands (Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos and Skiros)
  • Culture and tradition. Traditional dances, festivals (tsipouro festival, summer wine festival Tyrnavos, Festival of Greek Honey and Bee products etc.) and rebetikο music (rebetiko was inscribed in 2017 on the representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity) could be also recognized as treasures of the region.
  • Gastronomy. Unique wines (appellation of origin of superior quality), the most known Greek drink Ouzo and tsipouro (e.g tsipouro Tirnavos), the halvas from farsala, honey from Pelion are some of the Greek gastronomy that can be found in Thessaly region.

Considering all of these treasures in each country, we can find in which sector it appears a need for the social entrepreneurship development.

Read all the research here!

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