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Entrepreneurship outside the big cities: growing up in rural environments

25 Jun 2024. 09:44
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  • SME maturity
    Middle
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    1. Estrategias e iniciativas digitales
    Scope to digitize
    1. Digital strategy

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Often, we think that it is in big cities where companies have the best chance of success and growth. But how can this be achieved outside of them?

In this expert post, Pilar Burgueño Escorial, Director of R+D+I at 7Experts, reveals the keys to entrepreneurship in rural areas.

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Entrepreneurship outside the big cities
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The most primitive impulse as an entrepreneur makes us think that the best location for our company is the capital city or the most densely populated cities of the country where we plan to set up. Nothing could be further from the truth. It may seem contradictory, but it is not the brightest idea.

Capital cities tend to be overcrowded with people and, among these people, there are many who want to start a business with the idea of developing an initiative that will improve their position while improving the quality of life of others. In large cities, there will always be more competition for access to certain lines of financing, making it more difficult to obtain them.

As economic logic tells us, when we find a lot of ‘something’ in an area, in a normalised way, that ‘something’ loses value. Unless it is backed in the first instance by high demand, does your idea meet a palpable imminent need that will cover your investment costs within a year? More than likely, no. Your idea probably needs explanation, development, transition, investment and, above all, time.

In this sense, big cities don't understand time. Neither do your private investors.

 

Digital keys for entrepreneurship in the rural environment

When it comes to entrepreneurship, it is essential to analyse the different variables that can make your business model a success or a failure. Some of these aspects can be as obvious as:

  • What is my product?
  • What is different about it?
  • What is my target market?
  • How am I going to develop it?
  • Through what channels will I market it?

But many times, we take for granted that the location of my company will be in a capital city without stopping to think about all the advantages that not doing it in that place can have. Entrepreneurship is an act of courage, training and growth. And, undoubtedly, doing it outside the big cities can have a better result than the one initially set out in your Business Plan.

At the national level, there are financial opportunities for innovative and digital businesses with entities such as the CDTI (Centre for Technological Development and Innovation) or ENISA (National Innovation Company), which have different lines of funding to help the creation and development of technology-based companies or to promote innovative entrepreneurship projects. However, beyond this aid, Europe, through the ERDF Funds, makes budgets available to the Member States to enable them to organise programmes to correct territorial imbalances. The Next Generation Funds also continue to catalyse and boost initiatives for entrepreneurs, such as the Kit Digital Programme, which facilitates access to digitalisation solutions that are very useful for establishing your company in less urbanised environments.

Entrepreneurship, regardless of geographical location, is linked to the real need for infrastructures that allow work to be carried out with solvency and rigour, which is why it is essential to have the technology to develop your product, market it and advertise it.

 

Entrepreneurship is an act of courage, training and growth.

 

Therefore, the keys to successful entrepreneurship in the rural environment could be as follows:

  1. Identifying local needs. To be a successful entrepreneur, it is essential that the proposed solution solves real problems.
  2. Take advantage of social networks to connect with other entrepreneurs, as well as with possible clients and collaborators.
  3. E-commerce to reach a wider public.
  4. Digital marketing to promote the business.
  5. Telework and remote services, for example, for sectors such as consultancy, graphic design, programming or translation, among others.
  6. Online training to share specialised knowledge.
  7. Efficient use of digital resources, for example, project management tools, accounting software or tracking applications.
  8. Up-to-date technology trends that can be applied in the business.
  9. Direct funding opportunities, both at national and regional level, to support economic development in rural areas.

All these proposals are aligned with the Digital Spain Agenda 2026, within the framework of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, as one of the central pieces of digitalisation throughout the national territory.

 

Recommendations for the development of digital products and services in these areas

Developing any kind of product or service is not always easy. However, in order to mitigate the risks inherent in development, it is essential to analyse issues such as:

  1. Conduct a local market analysis to identify problems that can be solved with digital solutions.
  2. Designing digital products and services with an intuitive and user-friendly interface.
  3. Study existing connectivity pathways in the area, as in some locations internet access can be a challenge in itself, so offline versions need to be considered for development.
  4. Facilitate access to the digital service or product through, for example, tutorials or explanatory videos.
  5. Customise the product and service according to the specific needs of the users.
  6. Work on continuous improvement by soliciting feedback from users in order to continuously improve the digital product or service.
  7. Define marketing strategies, working on SEO positioning, local events or advertising in local media.

 

In conclusion, entrepreneurship in rural areas of Spain presents an invaluable opportunity not only to develop innovative businesses, but also to contribute to the development and revitalisation of these areas. With multiple grants and subsidies available, the path to rural entrepreneurship is more accessible than you might think.

Whether your project is traditional or digital, rural areas are full of opportunities waiting to be discovered. If you have an entrepreneurial idea and are looking for a promising environment full of potential, consider rural areas as your next business destination.

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