Among European countries there is a general contraction of local economic activities in marginal areas in favour of their concentration in more densely populated areas, which leads to higher levels of unemployment and poverty and to the depopulation of the areas. This socio-economic scarcity means that large areas lack the ability to manage essential services, enhance or protect the environmental heritage (also mitigating the damage caused by climate change), commons and cultural assets. The reduced capacity of territories is also due to a reduced entrepreneurial competence in the population and a lack of endogenous capacity for participation in collective and participative life. One possible response to this scenario are Community Enterprises (CEs). They are socioeconomic entities that rely on the production of benefits for the reference communities through the involvement of citizens in the planning, production, financing and exploitation of activities. The CEs are therefore ideal places where renewed participation and responsible citizenship are expressed and enhanced. The project intends to invest in policies and tools that facilitate this development process, while fulfilling a dual objective: to promote the employability of young people and women and to respond to shared local needs. The aim is to provide support for the learning of skills needed to combat depopulation and impoverishment of marginal areas through the start-up of CEs.
The project will produce:
1. Community Enterprise start-up form. It will be a path of skills development and active accompaniment for the creation of a CE that will include a tool for skills self-assessment, a training path for the enhancement of entrepreneurial skills, and operational models for the Start-up phase.
2. Portal for Community Enterprise development. It will be an accessible and free online tool that allows to implement and use the tools referred to in the previous point.
The methodology followed will be based on a rigorous scientific approach which, from the teaching point of view, will favor interactive and involvement methodologies, considering also the non-formal aspects and closely linking learning to concrete developments. An experimentation phase is foreseen to validate the processes.
The ComEnter&RC Project is funded with the support of the European Union’s ERASMUS+ Programme. All views expressed are those of the authors and not of the European Commission.