Rural Entrepreneurship Network (REN)

SIG Chairs: Dr Gary Bosworth & Dr Robert Newbery

The Rural Entrepreneurship Network is an established Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE).

There is an expanding group of scholars who research entrepreneurship in the rural. This is evidenced by the successful Rural Entrepreneurship Conference (REC), inaugurated by Professor David Deakins in 2002. This conference attracts scholars worldwide, many of whom are not ISBE members. The conference regularly attracts scholars from Ireland, Mexico, Pakistan, Iran, Netherlands, France, India, South Africa and Kenya, amongst others.

The REC has attracted sponsorship in different years from a number of agencies including the former Rural Commission and Scottish Enterprise

The Rural Entrepreneurship track for ISBE ran for the first time in Dublin 2012. It attracted a healthy 15 papers and in some sessions attracted 40 people. Since then, it has grown to be one of the largest tracks at the ISBE conference.

Aims and Objectives

The Rural Entrepreneurship Network aims to:

  1. Provide applied policy research oriented towards the achievement of sustainable rural communities working with practitioners and policy makers.  
  2. Advance research and practice in the broadly defined area of rural entrepreneurship studies, with an emphasis on substantive change in rural real-life practices, contexts and impacts.
  3. Provide a non-aligned independent space to develop a vision for development in the Rural Environment
  4. Promote the development of theory for practice in rural entrepreneurship research
  5. Contribute to ISBE income streams through an ISBE endorsed REC
  6. Contribute to an annual development event at the ISBE conference

These aims will be fulfilled through the following objectives:

  1. Operating a member registration and communication process.
  2. Hosting seminars and workshops to facilitate research development and networking.
  3. Adopting an international on-line presence via the ISBE website, JISC-listserv email account and working towards further use of new media to aid networking.
  4. Promoting the formation of rich networks and sub-themes within its membership.
  5. Attracting funding to support its activities.

Annual Activity

The Chair will ensure that the Rural Entrepreneurship Network fulfils the following minimum activity:

  • Leading a SIG Annual General Meeting with formal minutes available to members.
  • Producing an Annual Report.
  • Providing information to promote the SIG on the ISBE website.
  • Organising an events calendar with at least one event or workshop each year.
  • Supporting mini-conference organisation and ISBE Conference development event.