The European Commission recently launched the Start-up Village Forum (forum) to gather insights on challenges for, and the potential of, rural start-up companies.

As part of the EU’s long-term vision for rural areas, the forum contributes to boosting research and innovation in rural communities, and helps build up a more innovative entrepreneurship that will attract more young and talented people.

The forum aims to be an open space where local, regional, national and European institutions and stakeholders can meet, discuss and shape action for start-up-driven innovation in rural areas.

It also seeks to provide knowledge on rural innovative start-ups, the types of innovations they are involved in, the gaps in the services that they expect from innovation ecosystems and how these could be strengthened in the future.

The broader objectives of the forum are to:

  • Support the further development of rural innovation ecosystems;
  • Identify and analyse triggers for innovation in rural areas;
  • Connect rural innovation actors across the EU, with a focus on start-ups; and
  • Provide a common understanding of the concept of start-up village and highlight the link with the concept of smart village.

Speaking at the recent launch, Januzs Wojciechowski, European commissioner for agriculture said:

“Today, rural areas offer a wealth of opportunities to seize, as laid out in the long-term vision for rural areas.

“Fostering rural innovation should largely contribute to the green and digital transition, benefiting our rural communities, our farmers and society as a whole.

“The Start-up Village Forum plays an important role, by connecting start-ups, rural actors and public authorities to share knowledge and experiences.”