Europe is at an economic and social crossroads and nowhere more so than in rural areas, facing the challenge of creating smart, inclusive and sustainable growth. Specifically, the main challenge is to move beyond a “one size fits all” model of growth and empower rural regions to capitalize their distinctive territorial capital and turn diversity and demographic change into strengths.
Major EU Financial frameworks are aiming at fixing the problem through the implementation of projects specifically created to deliver the appropriate actions. A project that will be constituted by many different partners from many different countries. That way it will be ensured that the results of the projects will have a much bigger impact. We are, of course, talking about the projects implemented under the Horizon 2020 umbrella.
To that direction, LIVERUR project identifies living labs as an innovative concept for the rural business models that are currently in use and it will undertake socio-economic and competitiveness analysis to identify, describe and benchmark differences between the new living lab approach to making the rural regional economy more competitive, resilient and entrepreneurial with respect to traditional value and supply chain approaches.
Moreover, LIVERUR intends to perform a step further in the field of applied rural research: in order to implement the innovativeness of the living lab concept within the challenges intrinsically related to modern the regional rural territories and SMAEs, assuming that a regional circular economy approach is more sustainable and resilient compared to a more linear economic model.
SMAEs (small-medium agricultural enterprises) do present crucial actors in the structure and the dynamics of EU rural economy. Thus, LIVERUR aims to introduce the Rural Living Lab research methodology in SMAEs framework in order to identify and analyze various business model approaches, to that create added value, social cohesion, jobs, stakeholders’ integration, actors’ inclusiveness, and business resilience.
LIVERUR specific objectives are:
- The analysis and conceptualization of the rural living lab concept
- The development of a benchmark classification to list existing business concepts and models in terms of starting conditions, obstacles faced, enabling factors, financial mechanism, generation of added value, jobs and other environmental and social benefits
- The creation and conceptualization of the Regional Circular Living Lab business model concept (RAIN)
- The promotion of integration among stakeholders of the rural sectors within the piloting areas through the creation of an ICT enabled service ecosystem.
Improving the current agricultural business model means improving the agricultural worldwide market. The LiveRUR projects are taking the right actions to achieve maximum results. To this point, the results are positive and more innovative ideas seem to appear through the project. Innovation for the European Union is happening today!