Keys to a Living Country-side: Various forms of entrepreneurship in interaction with the surrounding environment

Last changed: 28 March 2023

The aim of the project was to develop new knowledge on the interaction between various forms of entrepreneurship and the surrounding country-side that influences the entrepreneurship developing there. (Cooperation with the Department of Economics, SLU)

The project, running between 2017 and 2020, was a cooperation between the Department of Urban and Rural Development, Robert Gordon University and the three regions of Gotland, Västmanland and Uppland. The entrepreneurship we had met in various rural areas in previous research projects had in practice proved to be strongly influenced by the location and situation. The aim of our research was to develop new knowledge on the interaction between different forms of entrepreneurship and context. By context we meant the environment, framing or of the circumstances people meet and interact with when they operate. To better understand the entrepreneurial process in detail would facilitate priorities both for locals who want to take initiative and to the officials and advisors who want to work for a living countryside.

Together with locals, advisers, officials and students, the project participants developed and ran 30 development projects in nine rural areas. In this project, we hoped to visualize various forms of entrepreneurship, to understand how they interact and lead to a vibrant countryside, systematize and develop methods for how different forms of entrepreneurship interacts with rural areas, build relationships in the places and spread lessons learned and action ideas to locals, advisors and officials, students and researchers. Projects can involve, for example, starting an entrepreneurial network, establishing a meeting place for people in the main town, launching a project to involve older people in rural development, linking local food production with the local school or to profile and strengthen any part of the local business community or municipal work. Projects involved are decided in every single place in consultation with local people, advisors and government officials, students and researchers.


Project leader

Johan Gaddefors, Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor, Department of Economics; Rural Entrepreneurship, SLU, +4618671789
Read more on Johan Gaddefors' CV page
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Project participant

Katarina Pettersson, Researcher, Division of Rural Development, SLU

Thomas Norrby, Senior Extension Specialist, Division of Rural Development, SLU, +4618671889, +46705671889
Read more on Thomas Norrby's CV page
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Richard Ferguson, Researcher, Department of Economics; Rural Entrepreneurship, SLU, +4618671731
Read more on Richard Ferguson's CV page
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Annie Roos, Doctoral Student, Department of Economics; Rural Entrepreneurship, SLU
Read more on Annie Roos' CV page
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Alistair R. Anderson, Professor, Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University i Skottland

Project time


External funding

The Kamprad Family Foundation for Entrepreneurship, Research and Charity

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