The purpose of this conference is to develop and strengthen the academic community researching societal challenges and the role of rural entrepreneurship in times of transformation.
During the conference, paper development workshops will be arranged, where future scholarship on the subject will be developed. After the conference, a selection of papers will be offered an opportunity for continued development with the goal to publish in a Special Issue of Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, with the same topic and title as the conference.
Scholars interested in rural entrepreneurship are welcome. The conference organizers take their point of departure in entrepreneurship and rural studies but encourage interdisciplinary approaches and understandings. Scholars on all levels from Ph.D. Students to professors are welcome to partake in this developmental conference.
- Collection of Papers for the conference and PDW workshop for SI opens:
1 March 2023
- Papers to be ready and submitted for the conference and PDW workshop for SI: 1 May 2023
- Confirmation of acceptance to the PDW workshop: 7th of May 2023
- PDW SI Workshop in Kalmar, Sweden: 12-16 June 2023
- First submission for the SI: 31 January 2024
- Review comments received: 1 July 2024
- Second submission: 1 October 2024
- Review and decision: 1 December 2024
- Publication: April 2025
Collection of Papers
Please send the paper for the conference as well as for the PDW workshop to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions or inquiries about the conference or the PDW workshop, please send a mail to email@example.com. William Gartner, primary conference organizer, will go through the mail continuously and answer any questions that you may have.
Conference background and societal challenges
The focus of scholarship on entrepreneurship and regional development has long been dominated by studies about how industries and new ventures enable the economic development of regions (Armington and Acs, 2002, Lee et al., 2004). The level of analysis has often been national and/or county-based, with urban centres as the presupposed engines of growth (Iacobucci and Perugini, 2021, McKelvey and Zaring, 2016).
Yet, long term change patterns related to an increasing awareness of climate change and increasing regional inequalities within and across countries have accelerated rural and urban transformations with a global pandemic, populist movements, social unrest and devastating regional floods, droughts and forest fires (see e.g. Rodríguez-Pose, 2018). The classic paradigm of cities as drivers of economic growth is challenged. Regional development now means more than economic growth, as sustainability transitions, social value creation, resilience or even degrowth become desired policy aims (Hudson, 2010, Kallis et al., 2018).
With this displacement, rural entrepreneurship is of renewed interest (Hunt et al., 2021). We seek to emphasise entrepreneurship that engages with rural spaces, communities, resources, values, histories and imageries, thus conceptualising rural entrepreneurship as a multifaceted socio-material activity (Korsgaard et al., 2015). What happens in urban centres is dependent on the rural in complex and changing ways (Sarmiento, 2017) and vice versa. For the great transition (Rockström, 2015) to be possible, a broad range of entrepreneurial changes are needed. It is our contention that many ‘good seeds’ needed in the anthropocene (Bennett et al., 2016) comes from rural areas and from entrepreneurs who have a business situated in a sparsely populated area and who are embedded in the social and material reality of the rural (Korsgaard et al., 2015), including networks within and beyond familial circles (Anderson et al, 2005). The use of exaptation (Gaddefors et al., 2020) and bricolage among rural entrepreneurs are examples of sustainable strategies, as are the production of values beyond financial ones (Bosworth, 2012).There is still much to learn from farmers and other rural entrepreneurs who are already using a circular logic (Rosenlund, 2021), for example, in terms of regenerative agriculture (Vlasov, 2021) and the development of alternative, prefigurative farm-to-fork circuits (Pascucci et al., 2021).
There here is a need for a deeper understanding of diverse rural contexts (Muñoz and Kimmitt, 2019, Gaddefors and Anderson, 2017) and the impact of the recent macro trends. For example, urban families in the northern hemisphere migrate to the rural, craving for space, time, and direct access to food and cleaner air (Deller et al., 2019, Kalantaridis, 2010, Tillmar et al., 2022). The organizational thinness that has been a rural liability (Clausen, 2020) is now also valued for attracting both inhabitants (labour force and customers) and business opportunities. At the same time, studies have shown that rural areas struggle with xenophobia (Tidholm, 2017) and traditional gender contracts (Forsberg, 1998, Bock and Shortall, 2006). For example, women entrepreneurs contribute social and community values, but receive very low incomes (Tillmar et al., 2022, Muñoz and Branzei, 2021). As scholars we should not fall into the trap of romanticizing the rural, nor should we be overly critical of rural life when it manifests as resistance to change (Gaddefors and Anderson, 2019). The question of rural values is thus a complicated one involving constant renegotiation and change as rural values are e.g. commodified (Anderson, 2000) the subject of intra-community tensions (Cucchi et al., 2021), and migration (Tillmar and Lindkvist, 2007, Fredin et al., 2019, Deller et al., 2019).
Content and highlights
We expect the paper development workshop and community building to be the primary highlights of the conference. There will also be key note speeches from the following scholars:
Malin Tillmar, Linneuniversitetet
Domenico Dentoni, Montpellier Business School
Johan Gaddefors, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Steffen Korsgaard, University of Southern Denmark
William B. Gartner, Babson College, Linneuniversitetet
Topics which will be covered include, but is not exclusive to, the following:
- Sustainable entrepreneurship turning the climate crisis into rural opportunities
- Initiatives to rejuvenate rural places or premises through new combinations
- New avenues for reawakening rural/urban links
- Development of rural areas and rural entrepreneurship over time
- How values have been created as well as utilized in rural entrepreneurial processes over time
- Links between the rural and the urban ecosystem for entrepreneurship
- The rural/urban divide in various parts of the world, particularly in the Global South
- Insights on the rural from indigenous and non-western perspectives
- Gender and diversity aspects of rural entrepreneurship
- Migration patterns – in-migration in relation to space and place
- Dynamics of rural values over time, given varying patterns of migration
Special Issue of Entrepreneurship and Regional Development on "Rural Entrepreneurship in Times of Transformation"
The paper workshop to be held during the conference provides an opportunity for scholars to meet, discuss, and receive feedback on their papers with the ERD Special Issue Editors. Note that submission to the ERD Special Issue does not require that participants attend the conference. A link to the ERD Special Issue announcement can be found here:
Anderson, A. R., Jack, S. L., & Drakopoulou Dodd, S. (2005). The Role of Family Members In Entrepreneurial Networks: Beyond the Boundaries of the Family Firm. Family Business Review, 18(2), 135–154. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-6248.2005.00037
ACS, Z. J., STAM, E., AUDRETSCH, D. B. & O’CONNOR, A. 2017. The lineages of the entrepreneurial ecosystem approach. Small Business Economics, 49, 1-10.
ANDERSON, A. 2000. Paradox in the periphery: an entrepreneurial reconstruction? Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 12, 91-109.
ARMINGTON, C. & ACS, Z. J. 2002. The determinants of regional variation in new firm formation. Regional studies, 36, 33-45.
BENNETT, E. M., SOLAN, M., BIGGS, R., MCPHEARSON, T., NORSTRÖM, A. V., OLSSON, P., PEREIRA, L., PETERSON, G. D., RAUDSEPP‐HEARNE, C. & BIERMANN, F. 2016. Bright spots: seeds of a good Anthropocene. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 14, 441-448.
BOCK, B. B. & SHORTALL, S. (eds.) 2006. Rural gender relations: issues and case studies, Wallingord, UK: CABI.
BOSWORTH, G. 2012. Characterising rural businesses–Tales from the paperman. Journal of Rural Studies, 28, 499-506.
BOWEN, R. & MORRIS, W. 2019. The digital divide: Implications for agribusiness and entrepreneurship. Lessons from Wales. Journal of Rural Studies, 72, 75-84.
CHERRIER, H. 2017. Food capacity in alternative food markets: visceral encounters, bodily interactions and contagious magic. Journal of Marketing Management, 33, 602-623.
CLAUSEN, T. H. 2020. The liability of rurality and new venture viability. Journal of Rural Studies, 73, 114-121.
CONTESSE, M., DUNCAN, J., LEGUN, K. & KLERKX, L. 2021. Unravelling non-human agency in sustainability transitions. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 166, 120634.
CUCCHI, C., LUBBERINK, R., DENTONI, D. & GARTNER, W. B. 2021. ‘That’s Witchcraft’: Community entrepreneuring as a process of navigating intra-community tensions through spiritual practices. Organization Studies, 01708406211031730.
DELLER, S., KURES, M. & CONROY, T. 2019. Rural entrepreneurship and migration. Journal of Rural Studies, 66, 30-42.
ETZKOWITZ, H. & ZHOU, C. 2017. The triple helix: University–industry–government innovation and entrepreneurship, Routledge.
FORSBERG, G. 1998. Regional variations in the gender contract: Gendered relations in labour markets, local politics and everyday life in Swedish regions Innovation. The European Journal of Social Science Research, 11, 191-209.
FREDIN, S., MIÖRNER, J. & JOGMARK, M. 2019. Developing and sustaining new regional industrial paths: investigating the role of ‘outsiders’ and factors shaping long-term trajectories. Industry and Innovation, 26, 795-819.
GADDEFORS, J. & ANDERSON, A. 2017. Entrepreneursheep and context: when entrepreneurship is greater than entrepreneurs. International journal of entrepreneurial behaviorresearch, 23, 267-278.
GADDEFORS, J. & ANDERSON, A. R. 2019. Romancing the rural: Reconceptualizing rural entrepreneurship as engagement with context(s). The International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 20, 159-169.
GADDEFORS, J., KORSGAARD, S. & INGSTRUP, M. B. 2020. Regional development through entrepreneurial exaptation: Epistemological displacement, affordances, and collective agency in rural regions. Journal of Rural Studies, 74, 244-256.
HUDSON, R. 2010. Resilient regions in an uncertain world: wishful thinking or a practical reality? Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 3, 11-25.
HUNT, R. A., TOWNSEND, D. M., KORSGAARD, S. & NAAR, A. 2021. Urban Farmers and Cowboy Coders: Reimagining Rural Venturing in the 21st Century. Academy of Management Perspectives, 35, 660-681.
IACOBUCCI, D. & PERUGINI, F. 2021. Entrepreneurial ecosystems and economic resilience at local level. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 1-28.
JIA, X. & DESA, G. 2020. Social entrepreneurship and impact investment in rural–urban transformation: An orientation to systemic social innovation and symposium findings. Agriculture and Human Values, 37, 1217-1239.
KALANTARIDIS, C. 2010. In-migration, entrepreneurship and rural–urban interdependencies: The case of East Cleveland, North East England. Journal of Rural Studies, 26, 418-427.
KALLIS, G., KOSTAKIS, V., LANGE, S., MURACA, B., PAULSON, S. & SCHMELZER, M. 2018. Research On Degrowth. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 43, 291-316.
KLOFSTEN, M., MALMSTRÖM, L. & JONES-EVANS, D. 2016. Att träna företagare som står inför en tillväxtfas eller viktig förändring: ett svenskt praktikfall.
KORSGAARD, S., HUNT, R. A., TOWNSEND, D. M. & INGSTRUP, M. B. 2020. COVID-19 and the importance of space in entrepreneurship research and policy. International Small Business Journal, 38, 697-710.
KORSGAARD, S., MÜLLER, S. & TANVIG, H. 2015. Rural entrepreneurship or entrepreneurship in the rural–between place and space. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, 21, 5-26.
LEE, S. Y., FLORIDA, R. & ACS, Z. 2004. Creativity and entrepreneurship: A regional analysis of new firm formation. Regional studies, 38, 879-891.
MCKELVEY, M. & ZARING, O. 2016. Sveriges entreprenöriella ekosystem. Stockholm: Esbri.
MUÑOZ, P. & BRANZEI, O. 2021. Regenerative Organizations: Introduction to the Special Issue. Organization & Environment, 34, 507-516.
MUÑOZ, P. & KIMMITT, J. 2019. Rural entrepreneurship in place: An integrated framework. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 31, 842-873.
PASCUCCI, S., DENTONI, D., CLEMENTS, J., POLDNER, K. & GARTNER, W. B. 2021. Forging forms of authority through the sociomateriality of food in partial organizations. Organization Studies, 42, 301-326.
RANJAN, R. 2015. Rural entrepreneurism and developmental outcomes under climate change threats. Climate and Development, 7, 353-366.
ROCKSTRÖM, J. 2015. Bounding the planetary future: Why we need a great transition. Great Transition Initiative, 9, 1-13.
RODRÍGUEZ-POSE, A. 2018. The revenge of the places that don’t matter (and what to do about it). Cambridge journal of regions, economy and society, 11, 189-209.
ROSENLUND, J. 2021. The Environmental Concerns of Food Ecopreneurs. Sustainability, 13, 6211.
SARMIENTO, E. R. 2017. Synergies in alternative food network research: embodiment, diverse economies, and more-than-human food geographies. Agriculture and Human Values, 34, 485-497.
STAM, E. 2015. Entrepreneurial Ecosystems and Regional Policy: A Sympathetic Critique. European Planning Studies, 23, 1759-1769.
TIDHOLM, P. 2017. Läget i landet, Teglund Publishing.
TILLMAR, M. & LINDKVIST, L. 2007. Cooperation against all odds: Finding reasons for trust where formal institutions fail. International Sociology, 22, 343-366.
TILLMAR, M., SKÖLD, B., AHL, H., BERGLUND, K. & PETTERSSON, K. 2022. Women's rural businesses: for economic viability or gender equality?–a database study from the Swedish context. International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship.
VLASOV, M. 2021. In Transition Toward the Ecocentric Entrepreneurship Nexus: How Nature Helps Entrepreneurs Make Ventures More Regenerative Over Time. Organization & Environment, 34, 559-580.
Ph.D. Seminar: Entrepreneurship, Rurality, and the Role of Space
In conjunction with the conference, a Ph.D. seminar on “Entrepreneurship, Rurality, and the Role of Space” will be held during the 2022-2023 academic year. The seminar sessions will be conducted online, with the final meeting scheduled during the in-person paper development workshop to be held in Kalmar, Sweden, during the conference.
The scheduled times for the Ph.D. seminar will be from 13.00 to 16.00 CET on the following dates: October 12, November 9, December 7, February 1, March 1, and April 5.
Participants in this seminar will gain a comprehensive overview of the field of rural entrepreneurship as well as develop a paper that will be submitted and reviewed for the paper development workshop.
Please email William B. Gartner for a copy of the course outline, details of what will be covered during each of the seminar dates, and information about the process of registering for the course and receiving ECTS credits (for those who want credits): firstname.lastname@example.org
For more on the seminar and for access to the course outline: https://lnu.se/forskning/forskarutbildning/kurser/feh/entrepreneuring-rurality-and-the-role-of-space/
Registration to "Rural Entrepreneurship in Times of Transformation" is now closed.
Please note that there is no conference fee as the conference will be conducted online.
A welcome mail including links to all Zoom meetings and the Zoom webinar in the morning of 14 June will be sent out 12 June.
Doctoral Seminar 13 June and 16 June
Conference and Workshop 14 June and 15 June
Tuesday 13 June
13.00–17.00 Doctoral Seminar (Zoom meeting)
Wednesday 14 June
We are planning this day as a webinar 8.00–12.00 and as a Zoom meeting 13.00–16.00.
09.15–10.30 Contextualizing Entrepreneurship: Status quo, moving forward - Friederike Welter, professor in Business Administration at the University of Siegen and head of the Institut für Mittelstandsforschung in Bonn
11.00–12.00 Panel Discussion
13.00–16.00 Paper Presentations as pitches and posters
The goal of this Wednesday afternoon session is to provide an opportunity for all participants in the conference to see what all the other participants are doing in the “rural entrepreneurship” area. These sessions are meant to begin the development of a knowledgeable community of scholars in this area. So, this will be the “unconference” aspect of the conference. We will use a format similar to “BarCamp.”
Thursday 15 June
We are planning this day as a Zoom meeting with breakout rooms.
09.00–09:15 Introduction to the Paper Development Workshop
09:15–10.45 Paper Development Workshop
Conference participants will be divided into working groups of six. These working groups were identified BEFORE the conference. Each working group received papers from other members of the group. Each member of the group is responsible for providing an evaluation of the papers received. These evaluations will be discussed during the paper development workshop hours. Each paper will be discussed for at least 30 minutes (depending on the number of papers in each group).
11.15–12:45 Paper Development Workshop
13.45–15.00 Reports from each of the Groups on insights from the paper evaluations
15.30–17.00 Wrap up
Friday 16 June
09.00–10.30 Doctoral Workshop – Paper Presentations
The Ph.D. participants will present their research papers briefly and receive comments and insights from the faculty.
11.00-12.00 Panel discussion
This session will be an opportunity to explore the research conference to discuss the theories presented, the methods used, the sites studied, and the analytical strategies employed. Any other questions about rural entrepreneurship that were not addressed in the previous sessions will be answered.
12.00 End of conference
Friederike Welter holds the Professorship of Business Administration, in particular of SME Management and Entrepreneurship at the University Siegen and she is head of the Institut für Mittelstandsforschung (IfM) in Bonn (Germany), a policy-oriented independent research institute on small business and entrepreneurship issues. Friederike Welter has broad experiences in applied and policy-related research on entrepreneurship and small business, much of it in an international context. She is a member of several policy-related advisory boards for federal and state ministries and for international bodies in Germany.
She was President of the European Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (2007-2009). For her work on small business and entrepreneurship, she has been invited to become a member of Academia Europaea in 2021 and has been elected to the prestigious circle of 21st Century Entrepreneurship Research Fellows in 2020 and received the Greif Research Impact Award in 2017 for the article: Welter, F. (2011). Contextualizing entrepreneurship—conceptual challenges and ways forward. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 35(1), 165-184.
A sustainable event
The conference “Rural entrepreneurship in times of transformation” is a sustainability-assured meeting in accordance with Linnaeus University’s guidelines for sustainable events. These guidelines are linked to the 17 global goals in Agenda 2030 and comprise the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, the social, and the environmental.
Learn more about Linnaeus University´s sustainable events here.