ViSEnet is an Erasmus+ project which aims to promote social enterprise in rural areas through learning material, guidance and networking.
Across many countries, rural areas face similar challenges, such as diminishing local services, economic and employment issues, and demographic changes – with an increasing older population and out-migration of young people. Social enterprise is a tool which can assist rural communities to address these challenges and ensure sustainability.
Social and community enterprise examples from across rural Europe demonstrate a wealth of local potential, knowledge and skill for sustaining services and enhancing community life. However much of the learning resources, guidance and networking for social enterprise and community development have evolved from an urban perspective.
ViSEnet addresses the need to have learning materials, tools and networking opportunities which are designed for the rural context. These are aimed at individuals who are interested in developing and sustaining their rural communities, who are willing to consider socially enterprising solutions or who already have an idea for social enterprise, as well as individuals already engaged in social enterprise activity who wish to gain new skills, knowledge and expertise to assist them in their venture.
Browse through the ViSEnet learning materials using the menu below:
- Defining Your Community
- Community Engagement
- Needs and Opportunities
- Prioritising and Action Planning
- Unlocking Assets
- Stakeholder Engagement
- Social Enterprise Networking
- How to Organise Networking Activities
- Guidance for Digital Networking
- Social Enterprise Learning Exchanges
- Partnership Working
- What is Social Enterprise?
- Social Impact
- Understanding Your Market
- Roles and Responsibilities
- Financial Planning
- Business Planning and Activity
The social enterprise approach to sustaining services is well established in Scotland (and particularly rural Scotland), demonstrated by the 2019 Social Enterprise Census, which shows that 33% of social enterprises are found in rural Scotland, despite it having only 17% of the population. However, social enterprise is relatively new in rural development across much of Europe, which is why there is a need to assist people across rural communities to develop knowledge and skills.
As challenges are somewhat similar across rural areas, it made sense to combine the international expertise of rural development and social enterprise to develop methods for promoting and supporting social entrepreneurship in rural areas. We have a great consortium of partners which supports new approaches to local community and social entrepreneurship based on the combination of diverse fields of knowledge and competences.
Nearly 300 participants will be engaged in learning while participating in the project. The project outcomes include open access learning material, an International Network of Rural Social Enterprises, and a Practical Guidebook of Good Practices for supporting the development of social entrepreneurship in rural areas, which will be developed over the next two years.
Results will be shared by disseminating outputs in open access format. All products and materials will be available and accessible here at the Rural Social Enterprise Hub. The project is funded by the EU Erasmus+ Strategic partnership for adult education. The Finnish National Agency for Education is hosting the national agency for the European Union’s education and youth programmes.
More information and links to the project’s materials are available in project partner’s websites:
- Estonian University of Life Sciences (EMU), Estonia: Contact: Roger Evans, email@example.com and Lea Sudakova, firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Bucharest University of Economic Studies (ASE), Romania: Contact: Carmen Paunescu, email@example.com
- Nürtingen-Geislingen University (NGU), Germany: Contact: Roman Lenz, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Inspiralba Scotland: Contact: Ailsa Clark, email@example.com and Ailsa Higgins, firstname.lastname@example.org
University of Helsinki Ruralia Institute Finland (coordinator): Contact: Katja Rinne-Koski, email@example.com