How to deal with the challenges facing rural communities?

Owner-operated farms and small businesses dominate the rural economy.

 

A rural community’s destiny rests in the hands of its people

Academics and governments tend to discuss how global forces shape the choices local communities make, rather than the problems, frustrations, wants and needs of the real people who live there.

It’s great to think in terms of ‘regional’ and ‘community development’, and ‘small town initiative’, but it is the individual choices and actions that are the primary drivers. And these primary drivers often require a catalyst.

Without large capital expenditure, growth and business prosperity can only come about through increasing entrepreneurial participation. Applying some new thinking to old ways, so the community can better meet the challenges, is always a better way to shape a community’s destiny.

A community’s destiny is greatly influenced by improving its management and future strategic planning which means starting to ask the right questions:

  1. How do we protect the existing assets and improve lifestyles by helping citizens, businesses and non-profits to address the possibilities while avoiding unnecessary problems and risks?
  2. How do we build ongoing value into the community by ensuring that the community changes quickly enough to address emerging opportunities threats, disruptive technologies and the evolving preferences of the people who live there?
  3. How do we define rural and how can innovation and growth be used to address the challenges?
  4. How can we nurture economic development strategies that rely on traditional rural landscapes, and link rural land preservation strategies to great neighbourhoods?
  5. How can we create opportunities to protect the things people love about our community, the place where they live?
  6. How can we make our community more attractive to new businesses and the people who live here?
  7. How can we work in harmony with sponge cities and other small towns and villages in our region?
  8. That’s great, but what have you done for our community lately?

While rural industries continue to adapt to global markets by improving innovation and technical efficiency, there is a need to respond to the social consequences of these changes. The undesired side effects of technological and economic change may diminish the potential benefits of improving rural lifestyles and other outcomes.

At the very least don’t exclude rural communities from some of the social and economic benefits of the modern world. Why not create and entrepreneurial ecosystem using economic gardening principles to face and overcome your community’s challenges.

 

“Communities thrive when you encourage entrepreneurship and the people think and act entrepreneurially”. Peter Sergeant

 

With technology, the business cycles are becoming shorter and everyone is facing unrelenting pressure to innovate or suffer the consequences. More and more there needs to be a focus on continuous improvement in the businesses, non-profits and the community generally.

To do so, communities must be willing to challenge and stress-test their vision, objectives strategies to ensure they go far enough and fast enough. For those communities who preserve the status quo, this shift can cause conflict and be uncomfortable.

 

 

[read more=”Personal Experience” less=”Personal Experience”]

Personal Experience

Everything starts with a dream. You can’t make something happen if first, you haven’t dreamt about it and the possibilities. I find it interesting that so many people, who have never tried something, are quick to tell you it can’t be done?

While rural towns and villages are wonderful places to live, the reality is often quite different from these conventional impressions where entrepreneurs are non-existent and leadership is poor. It will take entrepreneurial attribute to solve the problems and bring about the changes the community secretly dreams about.

Focus on building vibrant, enduring communities that people, especially young people, don’t want to leave, or will come back to live after exploring the world. And while you are at it, make sure you work to eliminate poverty and crime.

You need to be realistic about the challenges that rural communities face, challenges which have been aggravating those who seek change from decades of neglect and the ignorance that can come with isolation and loneliness.

One of the things to watch out for is a community who does not understand and appreciate the value of entrepreneurship. What is not happening today can well happen tomorrow with the input of entrepreneurs.

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