Rural development projects
Rural development projects are implemented as part of the Rural Development Programme for Mainland Finland 2014–2020 (+ transition period 2021-2022). The projects aim to improve the rural operating environment for residents and entrepreneurs alike.
The objective of rural development projects is to provide new solutions, reform rural livelihoods, increase competence and collaboration and make the countryside a better place to live. Projects may be local, regional, inter-regional, national or partly also international.
Vitality of rural areas and the rural operating environment
The vitality of rural areas is improved through various projects strengthening collaboration and a sense of community and improving the infrastructure. In the countryside, services and their accessibility require a great deal of work, collaboration and innovations. Improved telecommunications connections provide rural entrepreneurs with better operating possibilities and make rural areas more pleasant for residents. Projects concerning leisure and cultural activities, for instance, activate young people and open up new opportunities for them. Services for the elderly and their and quality of life can also be improved through projects.
Competence, renewal and innovation
The competence of and collaboration between rural entrepreneurs are increased, for example, through training activities and business development measures. The aim is to increase cross-sectoral collaboration among operators, brake boundaries, innovate, and improve rural services and the competitiveness of businesses. In projects renewing rural industries, there are no restrictions on the sectors involved, but all projects must include at least two active companies.
The objectives of development projects may be to develop enterprises’ activities, products, technology or processes or to build related skills and competence. Another goal is to promote local food and producer collaboration in different sectors. Particular emphasis is given to supporting new enterprises in the bioeconomy.
Efforts are also made to improve the environmental skills and energy efficiency awareness of rural entrepreneurs and residents. Related innovations are developed as well.