Rural Entrepreneurship Business Resource Materials

Entrepreneurship Law Editorial Team


Christina Abreo et al., Latino Immigrant’s Guide to Starting a Business in Arkansas: A Handbook for Entrepreneurs (2011).

Abstract (from author): This guide is designed to provide information to Latin American immigrants who are considering starting a small business in Arkansas as well as established business owners who want to learn more about successful business practices. Our goal is to help you start a business in Arkansas by providing information about each step of the start-up process. The step-by-step process is also designed to help you develop a business plan by organizing your information through the use of worksheets and activities included in each step. While almost all start-up businesses will eventually need to consider each of the topics we have included in this guide, you may choose to go through each step in a different order than they are listed. Most of the material we have included was developed in direct response to survey results collected from Latino entrepreneurs in Arkansas about special training or information they would like to receive.

Jitendra Ahirrao, Entrepreneurship and Rural Women in India (2013).

Abstract (from  In India, entrepreneurship has assumed prime importance—both in research and in action—for accelerating economic growth. An entrepreneur is a critical factor who strives to reorient the national strategies and bring out the desired changes in the development pattern. Contrary to the earlier belief that entrepreneurs are a special breed and are born with special traits, entrepreneurship can be cultivated through proper training and financial support. An entrepreneur is a catalyst who can mobilize different resources and put them to effective use. In any nation, women constitute the backbone a country's prosperity. However, the role played by rural women in India's economic development has not been assigned sufficient importance. Women face gender-specific barriers in access to education, health, and employment. As well, women have little control over assets. Women are often under-paid or unpaid for their work. Their contribution to society and the economy are often ignored. This book examines at the role of women entrepreneurship in India's rural areas. The book shows that encouraging women to set up small enterprises—particularly in rural areas—is an effective method to promote their welfare, development, and empowerment.


Abstract (from authors):  The authors’ model orients this community in the vortex of contemporary forces, pointing up, for example, the need for face-to-face interaction among residents versus the larger society’s demand for electronic communication. With increasing conflicts between the culture of rural communities and that of the “outside world” occurring, small towns all over the United States are losing their businesses, their doctors, and their sense of community. Yet the town described in this study is thriving. Against All Odds identifies pride, determination, and a sense of belonging that must be nurtured—and the local organization that binds all of these factors together—in order to keep a small town alive in the face of powerful disruptive forces.


Abstract (from product description at Offers an instructive look at the role modern telecommunications infrastructures play in promoting vibrant rural economies. The authors provide prescriptive policy recommendations for everyone concerned with rural economic development, from state and rural policymakers to telecommunications industry executives.

Gry Agnete Alsos, Handbook of Research on Entrepreneurship in Agriculture and Rural Development (2011).

Abstract (from product description at The agriculture sector around the world has experienced profound changes in recent years. This unique and path-breaking Handbook draws together the best current research in the area of entrepreneurship in agriculture, food production and rural development. Agriculture policy reforms have impacted farm incomes, while demand side changes have required the development of sophisticated market driven strategies. Farmers have demonstrated uneven abilities to adapt and adjust to these ongoing changes. The ability and propensity of farmers to engage in entrepreneurial behaviors is a key explanation of the different patterns of responses within the sector. This book examines these issues through three main themes. The first theme focuses on the firm and the individual entrepreneurs, exploring entrepreneurship within the farm sector. The second takes a sector and industry perspective, exploring new developments in food production and distribution systems. The third theme explores the inter-relationship between agricultural entrepreneurship and its spatial context. Contributions are drawn from international research settings (Scandinavia, Europe, Asia, North America, Australasia) and offer an interdisciplinary approach to the subject This astute Handbook, which will challenge and enrich the current literature, will appeal to academics in entrepreneurship, small business studies, agriculture, rural studies, rural sociology and agricultural economics, food industry economists, policymakers and all those interested in supporting agricultural and rural businesses.

Beatrice E. Avolio Alecchi & Mirjana Radovic Markovic, Women and Entrepreneurship: Female Durability, Persistence and Intuition at Work (2013). 

Abstract (from publisher):  Women and Entrepreneurship comes from two authors with especially rich experience in this field of research. Embracing experience in a range of developed and developing countries and examining both dependent and independent roles, Beatrice Avolio and Mirjana Radovic-Markovic profile women entrepreneurs and consider their motivations, together with the obstacles and challenges that they face and often overcome. A focus on emerging forms of entrepreneurship leads to a concentration on what is happening in newly developing economies, with a major case study set in a South American context. The authors deal in particular with how rural entrepreneurship, virtual entrepreneurship, and project-based and home-based businesses particularly lend themselves to providing opportunities for women. The authors' findings reveal that increased participation of women in business leadership has brought about completely new ways of business communication; new business strategies and company development models; and is imposing a new behavioral style on businesses. What is particularly encouraging is the evidence that female kinds of durability, persistence and intuition are producing business advantage. This means that the authors can clearly identify success factors and propose guidelines for the benefit of female entrepreneurs, female-led businesses, and business in general. This book will serve the needs of an academic audience of researchers in the growing field of studies into entrepreneurship; as well as those teaching or studying business or women's studies topics. It will of course appeal particularly to women owning and running businesses, or aspiring to do so.

John Belt et al., Learning and Earning: How a Value Chain Learning Alliance Strengthens Farmer Entrepreneurship in Ethiopia (2012).

Abstract (adapted from publisher): As smallholder farmers switch to producing for the commercial market, they face a steep learning curve. To select a product and to market it effectively, they must understand both their immediate market situation and how the whole value chain works. Individual smallholders probably cannot grow enough on their own, so they have to get organized and sell their produce as a group. That takes leadership, organization, mutual trust and a common vision. They need to access a range of business services: inputs, financial services, training, market information, transport, government support, and so on. And they need to plan their businesses: analyse their potential markets, identify customers, negotiate with buyers and suppliers, work out their costs and expected income, look at their longer term position in the value chain, develop a business plan, and put the plan into operation.

Abeje Berhanu & Ezana Amdework, Peasant Entrepreneurship and Rural Poverty Reduction: The Case of Model Farmers in Bure Woreda, West Gojjam Zone (2012).

Abstract (from authors):  It is now a decade since Ethiopia started implementing a policy of poverty reduction and eradication. The government's poverty reduction and eradication program stresses the strategic importance of agriculture. The sector, however, is in the hands of millions of peasant producers who depend on traditional methods of cultivation of crops with limited use of green revolution technologies, such as chemical fertilizers. The current package-based agricultural extension service, like its predecessors, uses 'model' farmers to disseminate improved technologies. This group of farmers, because of their entrepreneurial qualities, is expected to positively influence other farmers to adopt improved farming technologies. This research focuses on the entrepreneurial experiences of 'model' farmers in the context of the current agricultural extension package program and their contribution to Ethiopia's poverty reduction efforts by taking the Bure Zuria woreda of the Amhara regional state as case study.

Cases in Entrepreneurship (Harman Singh, Amit Dwivedi & Anita Sukhwal eds., 2014).

Abstract (from Society for Advancement of Villagers' Education and Rural Assistance (SAVERA) is consistently working towards rural development and nation building. This forum encourages manifold developmental activities in the field of research. It is a consortium of professionals, research scientists, social scientists, reformists, technocrats, and agriculturists, which offers critical inputs on development of rural India. One of the objectives of SAVERA is to develop instructional cases on entrepreneurship in Indian and global perspectives. 

Community Co-Production: Social Enterprise in Remote and Rural Communities (Jane Farmer et al. eds. 2012).

Abstract (from publisher): Governments around the globe are promoting co-production and community social enterprise as policy strategies to address the need for local, 21st century service provision - but can small communities engage spontaneously in social enterprise and what is the true potential for citizens to produce services?

This book addresses a clutch of contemporary societal challenges including: aging demography and the consequent need for extended care in communities; public service provision in an era of retrenching welfare and global financial crises; service provision to rural communities that are increasingly 'hollowed out' through lack of working age people; and, how best to engender the development of community social enterprise organizations capable of providing high quality, accessible services. It is packed with information and evidence garnered from research into the environment for developing community social enterprise and co-producing services; how communities react to being asked to co-produce; what to expect in terms of the social enterprises they can produce; and, how to make them happen.

This book is an antidote to the rhetoric of optimistic governments that pronounce co-production as a panacea to the challenges of providing local services and by drawing on the evidence from a 'real-life' international study will make policy makers more savvy about their aspirations for co-production, give service professionals practical strategies for working with communities, fill a gap in the academic evidence about community, as opposed to individual, social enterprise and reassure community members that they can deliver services through community social enterprise if the right partnerships and strategies are in place. 

Elaine Edgcombe & Tamra Thetford, The Informal Economy: Making it in Rural America (2004).

Abstract (from The Aspen Institute website): This publication examines the experiences of 29 entrepreneurs living and working in several rural counties in Nebraska.

Matthias Fink, Stephan Loidl & Richard Lang, Community-based Entrepreneurship and Rural Development: Creating Favorable Conditions for Small Businesses in Central Europe (2012).

Abstract (from publisher): How can municipalities in Central Europe create favorable conditions for local business? What and how can municipalities learn from each other? How can each individual in the local area contribute? And what requirements have to be met before know-how can successfully be transferred on a communal level? To answer all these questions, the authors of this book draw on results from a six-year research program and comprehensively discuss the manifold opportunities, restrictions and prerequisites of establishing favorable conditions for small and medium enterprises in rural municipalities in Central Europe.


Abstract:  Includes ideas for rural development, including some that are entrepreneurship and self-employment oriented.

Stephan J. Goetz, Steven Deller & Tom Harris, TARGETING REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (2009).

Abstract (from product description at  This book builds on a series of workshops and papers organized by The Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development (NERCRD) at the Pennsylvania State University and the Rural Policy Research Centre (RUPRI) at the University of Missouri.  The authors present an innovative approach through a collection of chapters discussing industry targeting and the relevance of Targeting Regional Economic Development as an important analytical tool for practical targeting purposes. The papers present issues surrounding community economic development, clusters in industry and rural communities and the role of agglomeration economies.

Gary P. Green, Steven C. Deller & David W. Marcouiller, Amenities and Rural Development: Theory, Methods and Public Policy (2005).

Abstract (from Amazon Product Description): While many rural areas continue to experience depopulation and economic decline, others are facing rapid in-migration, as well as employment and income growth. Much of this growth is due to the presence and use of amenity resources, broadly defined as qualities of a region that make it an attractive place to live and work. Rather than extracting natural resources for external markets, these communities have begun to build economies based on promoting environmental quality. Amenities and Rural Development explores the paradigmatic shift in how we view land resources and the potential for development in amenity-rich rural regions. Amenity-based growth can lead to several paths, based largely on proximity to urban areas and the type of development that occurs, whether it be seasonal residents, retirees, or tourism. The distributional implications of amenity-led development are an important consideration for policy, both within and between communities and regions. The contributors conclude that public policy needs to focus on maximizing complementary and supplementary uses while minimizing antagonistic uses of amenities.


Abstract: Energizing Entrepreneurs is a guide for the rural community leader who is helping to transform their communities into hotbeds of entrepreneurship. It discusses what communities can do to energize entrepreneurship in general, and how to support local entrepreneurs individually. Packed with insightful tips and advice from experts with years of experience in the field, Energizing Entrepreneurs is a “must have” for anyone working to create supportive environments for entrepreneurs, new sources of wealth and sustaining economic betterment.

Micro Finance and Rural Women Entrepreneurship in India (Suman Kalyan Chaudhury et al. eds., 2012).

Abstract: This book contains a collection of articles touching on various aspects of entrepreneurship as experienced by women in rural India.

Henry Asiel Wadsworth, Community Planning and Decision Making to Attract Industry, in Rural Industrialization: Problems and Potentials (Larry R. Whiting ed., 1974).

Abstract (from National Agricultural Library website): This text focuses on some of the pragmatic considerations which need to be taken into account when industry locates to or relocates within a rural community. It centers its attention on the logistics of integrating new industry into rural areas and on the positive effects such location offers. Its purpose is to organize, interpret and communicate existing knowledge on industrialization as a means of empowering communities to both attract and constructively integrate new industry into the social, economic and physical locale. It presents information on what characteristics of a community act as industrial attractants and provides advice on corporate leader/community leader communication. Major sub-topics include: location of industry, national policy, guidance of market forces to achieve benefit maximization, industry's view of rural areas, impact on the community and effects on labor demand and employment.

Kenneth P. Wilkinson, THE COMMUNITY IN RURAL AMERICA (1991).

Abstract:  A study of community in rural America that synthesizes the dominant conceptual approaches to the study of community and provides a review of the literature on each conceptual approach. The book discusses the critical variables or measures in the study of community in contemporary rural America.


Stephen M. Aigner, Cornelia Butler Flora, Syed Noor Tirmizi & Carrie Wilcox, Dynamics to Sustain Community Development in Persistently Poor Rural Areas, 34(1) Cmt’y. Dev. J. 13 (1999).

Abstract (from publisher): In confronting the problem of persistent rural poverty, scholars and practitioners of rural development have increasingly questioned the utility of previous antipoverty approaches that emphasize individually oriented cash transfer programs or policies guided by a modernization/development model. Instead, to design a recent ten-year policy initiative, the 1994 US Empowerment Zone/Enterprise Community Initiative, policy framers chose a new approach, locality-based rural development. Using rural census tracts with persistently poor profiles, the selection process emphasized the primary outcome goals of (1) sustainable community development and (2) economic opportunity for all residents, and two process goals of (3) citizen participation in the construction of a locally defined strategic vision and (4) the formation of community-based partnerships to implement benchmark activities to achieve the two primary outcome goals. The rural sites extend from the Eastern Shore of Virginia to the Deep South, from states which border Mexico to the Great Plains and the Northwest. An evaluation of the first three years reveals that steps undertaken during the strategic planning phase to actively reach out to residents with low income and to channel participation using groups increases citizen participation in governance during implementation but it is not associated with increases in community-based partnerships. To adapt new approaches to rural development and to partnerships between and across sectors, scholars and practitioners need to build trust between individuals and between segments of the community and levels of government.

Meghana Ayyagari, Thorsten Beck & Mohammad Hoseini, Finance and Poverty: Evidence from India (CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP9497, 2013), available at:

Abstract (by authors): Using state-level data from India over the period 1983 to 2005, this paper gauges the effect of financial deepening and outreach on rural poverty. Following the 1991 liberalization episode, the authors find a strong negative relationship between financial deepening, rather than financial breadth, and rural poverty. Instrumental variable regressions suggest that this relationship is robust to omitted variable and endogeneity biases. The authors also find that financial deepening has reduced poverty rates especially among self-employed in the rural areas, while at the same time it supported an inter-state migration trend from rural areas into the tertiary sector in urban areas, consistent with financial deepening being driven by credit to the tertiary sector. This suggests that financial deepening contributed to poverty alleviation in rural areas by fostering entrepreneurship and inducing geographic-sectoral migration.

Louis Bassano & James C. McConnon Jr., Strategic Partnerships That Strengthen Extension's Community-Based Entrepreneurship Programs: An Example from Maine, J. Extension (October 2011),

Abstract (from authors): This article explains how Extension can enhance and expand its nationwide community-based entrepreneurship programs by developing strategic partnerships with other organizations to create highly effective educational programs for rural entrepreneurs. The activities and impacts of the Down East Micro-Enterprise Network (DEMN), an alliance of three organizations with economic development missions in Maine, is used to showcase effective strategies that identify, create, and sustain strategic partnerships; build on their strengths; and overcome potential challenges. This Extension project was part of a statewide effort in Maine to build and strengthen networks of business service providers and improve service delivery to Maine's entrepreneurs.  

David Bell & Kathy Evert, Effective Strategies for the Future of Rural Communities, 15(1) Econ. Dev. Rev. 59 (1997).

Abstract (from EBSCO): Discusses the economic and community development strategies particularly useful in smaller rural communities. Common trend existing in successful communities; Strategic planning for public education and job training, technology, revolving loan funds and health care.

Christopher R. Bryant, Entrepreneurs in the Rural Environment, 5(4) J.  Rural Stud. 337-348 (1989).

Abstract (from author):  Change in rural activities is frequently seen as: (1) reaction to changes in other areas and sectors, and (2) negative. This downplays the role and importance of entrepreneurs, both farm and non-farm, in sustaining the vitality of rural areas. The notion of entrepreneur can be extended to entrepreneurial activity by other people, e.g. local government activity, which is an integral part of rural community economic development. Both the entrepreneur and the quasi-entrepreneur in local government are critical leaders in urban fringes and other rural areas alike. Their activity in an area is partly dependent upon the broader political, social and economic environment which influences: (1) the need to change and (2) whether any “benefit” can be derived from entrepreneurial activity. A framework is presented in this paper to place entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial activity into the context first, of decision-taking generally in the rural environment, and second, of the broader “enabling” environment. It is argued that constraints originating in this broader environment are often necessary, but they may have unforeseen side-effects in discouraging innovation. Changes in such constraints or in the manner in which they are implemented may be a necessary ingredient to maintain rural vitality through

René Díaz-Pichardo et al., From Farmers to Entrepreneurs: The Importance of Collaborative Behaviour, 21 J. Entrepren. 91 (2012).

Abstract : The purpose of this article is to discuss the problems associated with attempting to develop collaborative enterprise amongst farmers in Mexico. Sustainable development of agricultural land requires the development of entrepreneurial and organizational competency in farmers. However, the educational processes involved in such development have been insufficiently studied, especially in emerging economies. This research aims to explore the early stages of the process of transformation from farmers to entrepreneurs, through in-depth interviews with participants in a public pilot project in Mexico. Interviews were performed in the locations where the farmers meet. In total, 28 interviews were carried out: 18 farmers, seven promoters and representatives from three farm links agencies. Results suggest that associative behavior of farmers is a key element in the process of improving entrepreneurial and organizational competency in the agricultural land. Little prior research into the entrepreneurial development of farmers in Mexico has been undertaken.

Shervin Espahbod & Jahangir Yadollahi Farsi, Scanning of Entrepreneurial Opportunities in the Agritourism in Villages Located in the Suburbs of the Metropolitan Cities of Iran: An Empirical Review (2012), available at

Abstract (by authors): Paying attention to small and medium sized enterprises – given the special characteristics they have and the limitations they face in the vicinities of metropolitan cities – in the rural and particularly the agricultural tourism sectors can provide the basis for the improvement of advantages gained from tourism especially with regards to employment and entrepreneurship and additionally it leads to an optimized management of rural tourism activities. The purpose of this paper is to identify entrepreneurial opportunities that contribute to the development of agricultural tourism. In this research, the authors have implemented the opportunity discovery model proposed by Morrison and then after reviewing all published works in the field of rural and agricultural tourism in the time span between 2005 and 2010, the final evaluation is presented. The sample size of the field research approximately includes over 1580 individuals in the localities and over 12587 villages from all across Iran. This shows that if reinforced by appropriate policies, the agricultural tourism in the suburbs of the metropolitan cities in developing countries can be advantageous for the farmers, governments and tourists. For such a change to take effect, an integration of economic, social, legal and managerial approaches is but necessary. The results from the research give a comprehensive insight into the state of agricultural tourism.

Robyn Eversole, Jo Barraket & Belinda Luke, Social Enterprises in Rural Community Development, 49 Community Dev. J. 245 (2014).

Abstract (by publisher): Social enterprises are hybrid organizational forms that combine characteristics of for-profit businesses and community sector organizations. This article explores how rural communities may use social enterprises to progress local development agendas across both economic and social domains. Drawing on qualitative case studies of three social enterprises in rural North West Tasmania, this article explores the role of social enterprises in local development processes. The case study social enterprises, despite differences in size, structure, mission and age, are strongly embedded in their local places and local communities. As deeply contextualized development actors, these social enterprises mobilize multiple resources and assets to achieve a range of local development outcomes, including but not limited to social capital.

Linda Fettig, Bootstrap Rural Development: How Putnam County (MO) Took Control of It’s Own Future, 9(3) Econ. Dev. Rev. 50 (1991).

Abstract (from EBSCO): Reports on the efforts of Putnam County Foundation in Putnam County, Missouri to develop their community. Background on Putnam County; Information on the Foundation; Use of volunteers.

Jan L. Flora, Social Capital and Communities of Place, 63 Rural Soc. 481-506 (1998).

Abstract (from author)  This paper develops a framework for examining the questions: Does social capital make a difference for well being in communities of place? How might rural sociologists utilize social capital to further well being in communities? The author reviews social capital literature, contrasting rational choice and embeddedness perspectives. Opting for a marriage between embeddedness and conflict theory, he introduces entrepreneurial social infrastructure (ESI) as an alternative to social capital. ESI adds to social capital the notions of equality, inclusion, and agency. Research results are presented which support the embeddedness approach: community-level action (the community field) is not simply an aggregation of individual or organizational actions within the community; social capital and ESI contribute jointly and independently to community action. Examining economic development as a form of collective action, the author concludes the following: a) ESI contributes to economic development, and b) inclusiveness (internal solidarity) is more closely related to community self-development while industrial recruitment is better predicted by strong external ties.

Jan L. Flora, Jeff S. Sharp, Bonnie L. Newlon & Cornelia Butler Flora, Entrepreneurial Social Infrastructure and Locally Initiated Economic Development in the Nonmetropolitan United States,  38 Soc. Q. 623 (1997).

Emma Gilberthorpe, Community Development in Ok Tedi, Papua New Guinea: The Role of Anthropology in the Extractive Industries, 48 Community Dev. J. 466 (2013).

Abstract (adapted from author): Expansion of the extractive industries over the past few decades has been dominated by intensified sustainable development discourse within the sector and subsequent community development programs. Yet, despite the social nature and impact of interventions, the role played by various indigenous actors in the way contemporary discourses and practices of extractive industry are perceived and integrated remains largely ignored in policy development. Whilst recommendations by economists and political scientists dominate policy discourse, the capitalist principles of individualism, entrepreneurship, private property and the independent pursuits of wealth they employ not only conflict with the rural landscapes in which they are applied, but also with the discourse of “communality” and “community” that shapes corporate agendas. As such, development programs are often inappropriate and ill-conceived. This article shows how anthropological data can shed light on the negative social impact of current development models. Using Papua New Guinea’s Ok Tedi mine as a case study, the author advances the argument that a comprehensive understanding of the diverse cultural nuances activated by cultural actors with varied access to the opportunities provided by extractive industry should be implicit in the design of community development programs.

Gerard George et al., Optimism, Vulnerability, and Entrepreneurial Intent: Occupation Change Intentions in Rural East Africa (2011), available at

Abstract (adapted from authors): The authors  examine how income seeking attitude, economic and occupational vulnerability jointly influence individual intentions to switch into entrepreneurship under desperate poverty. They posit that vulnerability negatively moderates the relationship between optimism and entrepreneurial intention. The authors find support for their predictions in a sample of 673 individuals from two sub-locations in rural Kenya. The study design enables them to compare intention to change occupation into entrepreneurship against changing into other occupations. The authors find that intention to change into entrepreneurship has a distinctly different causal process. They discuss implications of their findings entrepreneurship under conditions of desperate poverty and the theory of planned behavior.

Jorunn Grande et al., The Relationship Between Resources, Entrepreneurial Orientation and Performance in Farm-Based Ventures, 23 Entrepren. & Regional Dev. 89 (2011).

Abstract (from author): The purpose of this paper is to investigate how firm-specific resources and entrepreneurial orientation (EO) of the firm may influence performance in small farm-based ventures. It builds upon theoretical strands from the resource-based and entrepreneurship perspectives. Research within these fields indicates that these relationships might be dependent on the context within which the firm operates. Hypotheses are developed to test the possible effect of entrepreneurial efforts and resources (financial position, farm size, location, network and unique competence) on short- and long-term performance. Data gathered in 2003 and 2006 from farms engaged in innovative ventures were used to test the hypotheses. The results show that financial capacity, unique competence and entrepreneurial efforts influence performance in the investigated firms. This suggests that firms do get paid back in the long run for engaging in entrepreneurial efforts. Thus, entrepreneurial activities and attitudes represent an important factor enabling firms to create, reconsider and apply their resources in more efficient ways.

Gary Paul Green, Is Small Beautiful? Small Business Development in Rural Areas, 25(2) J.  Cmty. Dev. Soc’y 155-171 (1994).

Seyed Jamal F. Hosseini & Gerard McElwee, Improving the Entrepreneurial Potential of Rural Women Entrepreneurs in Northern Iran, 12 Int’l J. Entrepren. & Small Bus. 1 (2010).

Abstract (from author): Rural women in the Northern Iran were surveyed in order to explore their perception about the factors that influence them in the entrepreneurial activities. The methodology used in this study involved a combination of descriptive and quantitative research. The total population was 247 rural women entrepreneurs in the Provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran and Golestan. Based on the results of the study, 67% of variance in perceptions of rural women about the factors influencing them in developing their entrepreneurial activities can be explained by education, motivation, economic and psychological/cognitive factors. The results also show that there is need for more training and education of rural women in improving their entrepreneurial activities.

Lokesh Jasrai, Rural Entrepreneurship: An Innovative Approach to Rural Mobile Telecom Services Marketing, 10 IUP J. Entrepren. Dev. 6 (2013), available at

Abstract (by author): Mobile telecom service industry in India enjoyed a high growth rate during the last decade but is now struggling to maintain a sustainable growth rate due to deterioration of key operating metrics, leverages, financial metrics, high operating costs, and disparity of teledensity between rural and urban India. The purpose of this study is to provide a conceptual framework of rural entrepreneurship with the aim to enhance adoption and consumption of mobile telecom services in bottom-of-pyramid markets. On the basis of extensive review of literature and three case studies drawn from Asian telecom firms, viz., Village Phone Program – Bangladesh and Smart Communication Inc. Philippines, and Celtel International – Nigeria, various partners such as mobile telecom operators, microfinance agencies, rural entrepreneurs, local community and regulating bodies have been identified as the major stakeholders in the suggested model.

Das Amutha Joseph, Role of Micro Finance and Financial Inclusion (2012), available at

Abstract (from author): Microfinance sector has covered a long journey from micro savings to micro credit and then to micro enterprises and now entered the field of micro insurance, micro remittance, micro pension and micro livelihood. This gradual and evolutionary growth process has given a great boost to the rural poor in India to reach reasonable economic, social and cultural empowerment, leading to better life of participating households. Financial institutions in the country have been playing a leading role in the microfinance program for nearly two decades now. They have joined hands proactively with informal delivery channels to give microfinance sector the necessary momentum. During the current year too, microfinance has registered an impressive expansion at the grass root level. The micro finance is an agenda for empowering poor women. Micro enterprises are an integral part of planned strategy for securing balanced development of the economy of the poor women. Rural women’s participation in agro-based activities is much more than what statistics reveal. This is mainly due to the fact that most of the work done by the women at farm and home is disguised as daily chores. Mechanization and easy availability of labor provide more time to energetic women to engage themselves in self-employment or entrepreneur ventures. Rural women are having human and non-human resources to take up an enterprise need one an innovative mind and motivation. Entrepreneurship is the only solution to the growing employment among rural youth. It helps to generate employment for a number of people within their own social system. This is more beneficial for women in rural areas as it enables them to add to the family income while taking care of their own home and livestock centered task. Rural women possess abundant resources to take up enterprises. She has the benefit of easy availability of arm and livestock based raw materials and other resources. Hence, she can effectively undertake both the production and processing oriented enterprises. Entrepreneurship development among rural women helps to enhance their personal capabilities and increase decision-making status in the family and society as a whole.

M. Jothilakshmi et al., Entrepreneurial Capacity Building Needs of Rural Women SHGs in Alternative Poultry Farming: A Case Study in Tamil Nadu, India, 8 IUP J. Entrepren. Dev. 6 (2011), also available at

Abstract (from authors): This study aims to understand the socioeconomic traits, training preferences and the needs of the members of the Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and the relationship among the members of the women SHGs and their training needs in alternative poultry, namely, desi chicken and turkey farming. A majority of the members were young, illiterate, landless, married having a medium-sized nuclear family, and livestock as the subsidiary occupation with low annual income. The members were found to have high extension agency contact, medium level of social participation with low mass media exposure. Half of the total members had high economic motivation, risk orientation and a favorable attitude towards developmental programs and group activity. The respondents need training in desi poultry farming next to dairying and goat rearing. Members had preferences over venue, duration, mode/type of training, season, etc. It was observed that in desi chicken and turkey farming, finance, marketing, disease control, management and feeding were the most preferred areas for training. The variables of the respondents were found to have varying degrees of relation with the training needs in desi chicken and turkey farming.

Edward J. Malecki, New Firm Startups: Key to Rural Growth, 3 Rural Dev. Prac. 18-23 (1988).

Lynn Ryan MacKenzie, Fostering Entrepreneurship as a Rural Economic Development Strategy, 10(4) Econ. Dev. Rev. 38 (1992).

Abstract (from EBSCO): Focuses on the fostering of entrepreneurship as a rural economic development strategy. Examination of rural economies in the context of current shifts in the world economy and modes of production; Elements of successful economic reorganization; Interventions to stimulate and support entrepreneurial activity.

Deborah M. Markley, Rural Banks and Their Communities: A Matter of Survival, 10(4) Gov’t Fin. Rev. 53 (August 1, 1994).

Abstract (from the publisher):  There are many developments that rural community banks need to address. These include the changing financial environments, internationalization of the US economy, industrial restructuring within the US, growing emphasis on agglomeration economies and changes in the financial services industry. To cope with these changes, rural community banks should more actively participate in the development of the economy in their territories.

Deborah M. Markley & Kevin T. McNamara, Sustaining Rural Economic Opportunity, 77(5) Am. J. Agric. Econ. 1259 (1995).

Abstract (from EBSCO): Focuses on sustaining rural economic opportunity. Industrial recruitment; Incubators; Industrial extension; Evaluation of business development policies.

Leigh J. Maynard, Timothy W. Kelsey, Robert J. Thee & Panajiotis Fousekis, Rural Migration: What Attracts New Residents to Non-metropolitan Areas, 28(2) J.  Cmty. Dev. Soc’y 131-139 (1997).

Abstract: This study uses the experience of three non-metropolitan counties in Pennsylvania to explore which community characteristics have the greatest influence on people's decisions to move to rural areas. Personal characteristics affected how in-migrants evaluated prospective rural residential locations. Higher income in-migrants placed a high priority on job opportunities, housing quality, a short commute to work, quality of schools, and low local taxes. Lower income in-migrants were more likely to value a location near family and friends. Ability to own a home, housing costs, and local taxes were also important.

A. Mehta, Retail Entrepreneurship: A Theoretical Framework for Indian Rural Retailing, 1 World Res. J. Entrepren. & Bus.8 (2012), available at:

Abstract (by author): A striking feature of India, and not just rural India, is the diverse and varied profiles of customers & consumers but every aspect of their lives from birth, to education, to marriage, to livelihood is influenced by the deeply imbedded Indian traditions and culture. Indian rural marketers & entrepreneurs have been able to understand, to identify and to utilize these cultural diversities and traditions. According to this year’s Global Retail Development Index India is positioned as the leading destination for retail investment. The rural retail sector in India is witnessing a huge revamping exercise as traditional markets make way for new formats such as departmental stores, hypermarkets, supermarkets and specialty stores along with fully customized services & products. Over the last two decades the state & central governments in India have been able to exercise far more independence in decision-making than in the pre-1980 period. This paper can be useful to rural entrepreneurs, rural retailers & academicians interested in getting insights of Indian rural retail industry for doing direct and indirect business in the Indian rural retail sector. This paper studied and proposed a theoretical framework for the changing paradigm of the Indian rural retail markets and suggests some ways in overcoming the roadblocks in Indian rural retailing.

Reza Movahedi & Ahmad Yaghoubi-Faranim, Analysis of the Barriers and Limitations for the Development of Rural Women's Entrepreneurship, 15 Int'l J. Entrepren. & Small Bus. 469 (2012).

Abstract (from journal): This study, by considering the importance of entrepreneurship in rural communities, has the aim to identify and explore barriers and limitations of the development of rural women's entrepreneurship in Iran. This research has been conducted using an exploratory qualitative research methodology with two groups of respondents including both experts on entrepreneurship and rural women's entrepreneurs. Data were gathered through interviews and the Delphi technique. The data collection process was conducted to obtain complete and comprehensive data, and saturation was attained in two rounds. The results revealed that barriers and limitations of rural women entrepreneurship can be divided into nine: demographics; personality and behavioral conditions of rural women; family characteristics; knowledge and skills of rural women (education, experience and communication); cultural and social conditions (community and rural); access to facilities and services needed for rural women (in the process of setting up, managing, and developing businesses); law and legal factors, financial and economic factors; institutional and organizational factors; and geographical and environmental conditions (rural environment).

Helen Perks & Dominic Medway, Examining the Nature of Resource-Based Processes in New Venture Development Through a Business Duality Lens: A Farming Sector Taxonomy, 30 Int’l Small Bus. J. 161 (2012).

Abstract (from authors): This article investigates the nature of resource-based processes in the development of new ventures, adopting a business duality lens. Business duality occurs where a new venture is developed alongside an established business. The research employs a multiple case study methodology situated in the farming sector. The details of resource assembly and deployment are examined and presented through four stages of the entrepreneurial process: initiation, experimentation, mature and late stage. The findings offer insight into the manner in which resource ties between the businesses relate to processes of resource assembly and deployment and in addition, inform a business duality-based taxonomy, thus depicting three generic approaches to managing resource-based processes in the development of new ventures in the farming sector: holistic innovators, reactive innovators and cautious innovators. The authors conclude by considering the implications of their arguments for new venture activity in other business duality contexts.

Keerti Prajapati & Saswata Narayan Biswas, Effect of Entrepreneur Network and Entrepreneur Self-efficacy on Subjective Performance: A Study of Handicraft and Handloom Cluster, 20 J. Entrepren. 227 (2011).

Abstract (from authors): The article presents results of a study on the impact of entrepreneurial demographic characteristics (age, experience and education), entrepreneurial network structure (size, density and centrality), entrepreneurial network types (competitive and supportive) and entrepreneurial self-efficacy on subjective performance. The sample consisted of 148 micro and small enterprises in a textile handicraft and handloom cluster in Kutch, Gujarat, India. Regression analysis results suggested that size, density, centrality, entrepreneur self-efficacy, competitive network and supportive network predicted subjective performance significantly and together they accounted for about 56 per cent of the variance in the dependent variable. However, the unique contribution of the demographic variables and supportive network was not significant. Results are explained in light of the theory of social capital and the entrepreneur cognitive theory. The research has implications for policymaking, research and entrepreneurship training and education.

Madhusudana N. Rao, Entrepreneurship and Rural Development: Role of Street-Level Bureaucracy in India, 6 Int’l J. Bus. & Globalisation 1 (2010).

Abstract (from author): In this study, the authors apply the concept of street-level bureaucracy from public management to analyze the issues relating to the implementation of a mini Hydel project in India, and draw important lessons for entrepreneurs as well as policy planners for the promotion of rural development through entrepreneurship in emerging markets in general. India's energy policy promotes 'green energy' as a renewable and eco-friendly alternative to the fast depleting conventional energy sources with a variety of fiscal and other incentives to encourage private investment in mini Hydel projects (India's 11th five-year plan, 2002-2007: energy sector). In this paper, based on first-hand observation of one such power sector start-up in India over a three-year period, we carefully analyze the issues confronting entrepreneurs in dealing with street-level bureaucracy, and draw important lessons for entrepreneurs as well as policy planners for the promotion of entrepreneurship and rural development.

Banjo Roxas & Fara Azmat, Community Social Capital and Entrepreneurship: Analyzing the Links, 45 Community Dev. 134 (2014).

Abstract (adapted from authors): This study examines the effects of community social capital on entrepreneurial intentions (EIs) in rural communities in a developing country. Entrepreneurship, in the form of business start-ups, is widely recognized as an integral component of local economic development programs designed to address poverty and limited livelihood opportunities, especially among poor and marginalized communities in rural areas in developing countries. Using a survey of 496 individuals residing in five rural communities in the Philippines, and drawing from the theory of planned behavior and social capital theory, the authors examine the direct and indirect effects of community social capital (CSC) on an individual’s EIs. The findings show that CSC largely influences EI by shaping an individual’s perceived self-efficacy (PSE) to engage in entrepreneurship, perceived desirability of entrepreneurship (PDE), and perceived social norms toward entrepreneurship (PSNE). High levels of PSE, PDE, and PSNE have a positive influence on an individual’s EI. These findings offer more nuanced explanations of how social capital within a community can facilitate entrepreneurship as a means of community economic development. Implications of the findings and areas for future research are discussed.

Pieter Seuneke, Thomas Lans & Johannes S.C. Wiskerke, Moving Beyond Entrepreneurial Skills: Key Factors Driving Entrepreneurial Learning in Multifunctional Agriculture, 32 J. Rural Stud. 208 (2013).

Abstract (adapted from authors): It is widely acknowledged that, next to sound craftsmanship and management, farmers increasingly need entrepreneurship if they are to survive in modern agriculture. This is reflected by an increasing number of studies focusing on entrepreneurship in agriculture. While much work in this comprehensive body of literature focuses on entrepreneurial skills, relatively little attention has been paid to the learning process leading to the development of these skills. This paper therefore explores that learning process and focuses on the context of multifunctional agriculture. The authors’ investigation was guided by the recently developed concept of entrepreneurial learning and particularly focused on finding out which factors underlie the entrepreneurial learning process in this specific context. Empirical work done in six different multifunctional farms in the Netherlands revealed three major factors driving entrepreneurial learning: 1) re-developing an entrepreneurial identity, 2) crossing the boundaries of agriculture and 3) opening up the family farm. Crucial to understanding these factors is the challenging process of transition from production-oriented to multifunctional farming. A perceived productivist norm, created by decades of post-war agricultural modernization, was found to make entrepreneurial learning in this context far from self-evident. This paper contributes by bringing the entrepreneurial learning process to light and demonstrating its complexity in a specific context. Based on their findings, the authors argue that the debate on entrepreneurship in agriculture needs to move beyond its current focus on entrepreneurial skills. The concept of entrepreneurial learning provides a useful framework in this respect. Further to its theoretical relevance, this paper ultimately supports practitioners in finding inroads into fostering entrepreneurship in multifunctional agriculture.

George S. Spais, Building Adult Educational Programs in Entrepreneurship Based on Mezirow: The Case of Agricultural Entrepreneurship, in Global Perspectives on Educational Leadership Reform: The Development and Preparation of Leaders of Learning and Learners of Leadership  (A. Normore, ed., 2010), available at

Abstract (from author): This chapter reports on a study of the benefits of the Integrated Education in Agricultural Entrepreneurship (IEAE) based on Mezirow’s “critical reflection”. The research intention is to categorize the constructs of the following fundamental concepts: a. “farmer’s entrepreneurship skill”, b. “approach of integrated entrepreneurship education” and c. “life-learning process in agricultural entrepreneurship education”. IEAE substantially covers the transfer of knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will allow in each farmer/learner to plan, to launch, and to manage his/her own business and it should be approached from leadership perspective and as a life-long learning process. Entrepreneurship constitutes an important factor that determines the level of economic growth, competitiveness, employment, and social prosperity of a small country such as Greece (Spanoudaki, 2008). For purposes of this chapter agricultural entrepreneurship is defined as an effort developed individually or collectively for the exploitation of resources that the individual or the team allocates for the production of useful agricultural products, services, or goods connected with the production of agricultural products and their distribution in the market, satisfying market needs. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (Bosma & Levie, 2010), entrepreneurship is conceptualized as each effort for building a new business or a new activity, such as the free profession, where the creation of a new business, or the extension of an existing one, is done by an individual or by teams of individuals, from public institutions or from established private businesses. Through the application of Mezirow’s “critical reflection” in agricultural entrepreneurship education, education leaders, policy-makers, researchers, and extensionists can create a learning environment to motivate agricultural entrepreneurs to evaluate their experiences and provide them the opportunity to review their beliefs, opinions, and values.

Heather M. Stephens & Mark D. Partridge, Do Entrepreneurs Enhance Economic Growth in Lagging Regions?, 42 Growth & Change 431 (2011).

Abstract (adapted from author): Because support for entrepreneurship is often a core part of economic development strategies, the authors investigate whether it is important for growth in lagging, rural U.S. regions by focusing on Appalachia. While entrepreneurship has the advantage of being endogenous and 'home grown,' previous research suggests that remote rural regions may lack the agglomeration economies to benefit greatly from entrepreneurship. Using county-level data, they explore the relationship between entrepreneurship and economic growth, employing self-employment and small business data as proxies for entrepreneurship. The authors look at the results for the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) region, using its immediate Appalachian neighbors outside the ARC region as a control group. Moreover, they also account for self-sorting by proprietors to locate in expanding regions. Despite strong barriers to growth in Appalachia, the empirical results suggest that self-employment is positively associated with employment and income growth, and that efforts to promote entrepreneurial capacity may be among the few economic development strategies with positive payoffs in remote regions.

Heather M. Stephens, Mark D. Partridge & Alessandra Faggian, Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth in Lagging Regions, 53 J. Regional Sci. 778 (2013).

Abstract (by authors): The paper investigates what are the most important factors in fostering growth in rural, remote regions with historically low growth rates. In particular, the authors focus on the lagging Appalachian region and compare it to both nearby counties and other similarly lagging U.S. counties. Factors such as self-employment, human capital, creativity, university spillovers and high-technology clusters are considered. The results suggest that entrepreneurship and creativity factors are key to increasing growth in the Appalachian region and in similar lagging regions nationally. However, there is little evidence that other knowledge-based factors are conducive to growth in these regions.

Maria Costanza Torri, Community Gender Entrepreneurship and Self-Help Groups: A Way Forward to Foster Social Capital and Truly Effective Forms of Participation Among Rural Poor Women?, 47 Community Dev. J. 58 (2012).

Abstract (from publisher): In the last few years, there has been a tendency to consider group approach in gender entrepreneurship and the creation of networks among women as an important factor to improve the conditions of rural women and enhance their development. Consequently, elements such as caste, class, ethnic and religious hierarchies that lead to diversities among the different groups of women have been underestimated by the schemes of non-governmental and governmental organizations. This paper examines GMCL (Gram Mooligai Limited Company), an Indian community-based enterprise led by women which is formed by a network of self-help groups. By individuating the main challenges, the paper argues that while the ‘group’ and social forms of entrepreneurship have inherent benefits, it must never be allowed to become the paradigm in developmental policies for women.

Maria Costanza Torri, Livelihoods, Social Capital And Small-Scale Indigenous Enterprises in Rural India: Embeddedness or Social Exclusion?, 13 Int'l J. Entrepren. & Small Bus. 429 (2011).

Abstract (from journal): This article explores the importance of specific forms of social capital for small-scale forestry enterprises in India while highlighting that such analyses must incorporate local sociocultural complexities. In India, small-scale entrepreneurs active in the herbal sector are numerous and are mainly composed of indigenous communities and rural poor. They rely heavily on informal networks, linkages, and trust relationships for their development. This dependence reflects different social capital forms, embedded in local social and caste relations that are inclusionary for some, yet exclusionary for others. Findings show that although bonding social capital is prevalent, the presence of social-cultural complexities and social stratification, together with external factors such as lack of support from the external institutions, hinders participation and progress for many of these local entrepreneurs.

Jostein Vik & Gerard McElwee, Diversification and the Entrepreneurial Motivations of Farmers in Norway, 49 J. Sm. Bus. Mgmt. 390 (2011).

Abstract (from authors): A series of significant pressures but also new opportunities face the agricultural sector in developed economies. Farm diversification is presented as a political solution and a viable business strategy and highlights the entrepreneurial side of farmers. This paper is a unique attempt to address the question of motivation for farm diversification using Norwegian data. The results demonstrate that social motivations are as important as economic motivations, that is, there are substantial differences in which motivations underpin different types of diversification. This suggests, first, that the literature could gain from engaging more in the variation of motivational drivers than general trends, and second, that farmers need different forms of support to develop their entrepreneurial skills. With a data set derived from a large survey (N=1607) of Norwegian farm holdings, the authors use a multinomial logistic regression model to analyze how six farm diversification categories are differently influenced by different types of motivations and other background variables.

Joanna M. Wagner, Improving Native American Access to Federal Funding for Economic Development Through Partnerships with Rural Communities, 32 Am. Indian L. Rev. 525 (2008).

Abstract:  This article explores the common interests of Indian reservations and small rural communities, especially geographic isolation, lack of financial and human capital, resource dependency, and lack of political power. The article also provides background information on federal rural development programming, and summarizes the economic development programming available to Indian communities.  After discussing the relative accessibility and utilization of federal programs, the article suggests that non-Indian rural communities and Indian communities should work together on local and regional economic development efforts in order to fully take advantage of rural development federal funding available. The article concludes with an Appendix detailing Native American eligibility for every federal program currently available for economic development, and reports the few statistics regarding their utilization that are currently available.

Norman C. Walzer & Andrew Scott Blanke, Business Starts in the Midwest: Potential Entrepreneurial Groups, 44 Community Dev. 336 (2013).

Abstract (by authors): Promoting business starts, as well as attracting and retaining employers, is an integral part of development efforts as local governments try to respond to the US economic recovery. Thus, targeting potential entrepreneurs and/or groups associated with business starts is important in designing and marketing development efforts. A growing literature has identified groups of likely entrepreneurs with motivations or interests in launching businesses. Successful business launches require financial resources, flexible schedules, and knowledge or experience in managing such an activity. This article briefly reviews the literature on entrepreneurship and then examines correlations between business starts and percent unemployed, pre-retirement groups, farmers with small operations, Hispanics, and females between 25 and 34 years of age using a sample of 850 counties in nine Midwestern states in the USA to determine the importance of these groups in business starts. Several successful programs targeted to these population groups are then described to help development practitioners focus entrepreneurship training, technical assistance, and consultation activities on these groups to promote start-ups.

Kenneth P. Wilkinson, In Search of Community in the Changing Countryside, 51 Rural Soc. 1-17 (1986).

Abstract (from author):   The conventional sociological concept of community has special and continuing significance in rural sociology. The ideas of local ecology, local society, and local solidarity describe a form of social organization-the community-that can influence social well-being now as in the past in rural or urban localities. Small towns and rural areas have advantages for community development by virtue of their rurality, but rurality also contributes to problems of dependency and can limit access to re- sources needed to meet local needs. An effective strategy of rural community development must attack these problems without destroying the potential for community development associated with rurality. Rural sociology, because of its commitment to the use of scientific methods in the service of rural well-being, should be in the forefront of efforts to understand the process of community development.

Mike D. Woods & Tom Seth Smith, Rural Enterprises Incorporated of Oklahoma: A Case Study, 15(3) Econ. Dev. Rev. 52 (1997).

Abstract (from EBSCO): Presents information on a study which provided a brief history of Rural Enterprises Incorporated (REI), a private nonprofit corporation focusing on job creation. Information on REI business-oriented programs; Overview on REI structure; Lessons learned from REI.

Online Resources

Brian Dabson, Fostering Entrepreneurship Development systems in Rural America:  First Review of the Results of the Request for Proposals, Will Keith Kellogg Found. (January 2005).

Stephan J. Goetz, Strategic Directions in Community and Economic Development Extension and Research in the Northeast: Building a Stronger Network in a Critical Time (2007).

Robert C. Lloyd & Kenneth P. Wilkinson, Community Factors in Rural Manufacturing Development, 50 Rural Soc. 27-37 (1985).

Deborah Markley & Ahmet Binerer, Creating Entrepreneurial Communities in Kansas (Center for Rural Entrepreneurship May 2014),

Kevin T. McNamara, Warren Kriesel & Daniel V. Rainey, Manufacturing Recruitment as a Rural Development Strategy, in Rural Dev. Strategies, 119-136 (D. W. Sears and J. N. Reid eds., 1995).

Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service, So You Want to Start a Farm,

Thomas D. Rowley, Entrepreneurship Means Adaptation,  Ctr. for Rural Entrepreneurship (August 13, 2004).

RUPRI Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, Center Publications

RUPRI Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship Research & Policy Resources

Starting A Farm: A Planning Guide for What You Need to Know, (last visited June 3, 2011).

Will Keith Kellogg Foundation, Mapping Rural Entrepreneurship,  Corp. for Enter. Dev. (2003).

Other Materials

Janet S. Ayres, F. Larry Leistritz &  Kenneth E. Stone, Revitalizing the Retail Trade Sector in Rural Communities: Lessons from Three Midwestern States, N. Cent. Reg’l Ctr. for Rural Dev., Iowa St. U. (1992) (Technical Paper).

Peter F. Korsching & John C. Allen, Local Entrepreneurship: A Development Model Based on Community Interaction Field Theory, presented at the Annual Rural Sociological Society Annual Meeting, Washington D.C. (2001).

Max S. Wortman, Jr., A Unified Approach for Developing Rural Entrepreneurship in the U.S., paper presented to the Agribusiness Research Meeting, Las Vegas, Nev. (1989).

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