Rural depopulation has become a major challenge across Europe. Research shows that around eight million people are likely to leave their homes in these areas by 2050. Consequently, tackling economic decline and bridging the socio-economic gap between affluent and disadvantaged areas has become an increasingly urgent issue. However, amidst these challenges, the YERAME project, coordinated by Innovation Hive, seeks to empower rural youth through entrepreneurship, facilitating the creation of sustainable businesses capable of mitigating the adverse effects of desertification and promoting economic growth.
The YERAME project recognises that rural areas have huge untapped potential for economic development. By leveraging the European Green Deal and post-COVID recovery funds, these areas can be part of the ecological transition, attracting investment and population. The project is aligned with EU policies such as the Common Agricultural Policy and regional development initiatives, providing support and introducing structural changes that are vital for the long-term vitality of rural communities. To achieve its objectives, the YERAME project is divided into five steps, each of which deals with specific aspects of promoting entrepreneurship and combating the desertification of rural areas.
Step 1: Project management and coordination: Led by Innovation Hive and CEPIES, at this stage the consortium ensures effective project implementation and coordination between partners. Good management is key to achieving the desired results and maximising the impact of the project.
Step 2: Research on youth rural entrepreneurship. In this stage, we focus on understanding the unique challenges and opportunities for youth entrepreneurship in rural areas. The findings from this research will feed into the project’s strategies and interventions.
Step 3: Education for youth entrepreneurship in rural areas. This is where targeted entrepreneurship training is provided to rural youth. By equipping them with basic skills and knowledge, the project aims to empower these individuals to create sustainable businesses.
Step 4: Rural Entrepreneurship Advisory Programme for youth. This stage provides for the implementation of a mentored youth agribusiness programme. Through this mentoring, young entrepreneurs receive support in establishing and developing a business in rural areas.
Step 5: Promotion and valorisation. In this last phase of the project, the results of the project are communicated. Through dissemination activities of the project and its results, the project aims to inspire and support the implementation of successful business models in other rural areas.
Right now, at this stage of implementation, a questionnaire has been created which tries to define the difficulties of developing and setting up businesses in rural areas and the obstacles that young people face in opening their own business. More specifically, the results of the survey will feed into the strategies to be followed for the development of the next steps of the project.
The YERAME project is a beacon of hope for rural areas struggling with desolation and economic decline. By harnessing the power of entrepreneurship and taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the European Green Deal and recovery funds, the project aims to empower young people in these areas to become successful entrepreneurs. Through targeted research, training, mentoring and promotion, the project seeks to create sustainable businesses that will not only promote economic growth but also address the challenges of rural depopulation. As these initiatives take root, we can envision a future where rural areas flourish, providing opportunities and prosperity. The YERAME project paves the way for a future where entrepreneurship becomes a catalyst for rural regeneration and sustainable development.