The thesis analyzes the potential barriers for rural entrepreneurs and explains why it is important for rural economies to foster their levels of entrepreneurship. There are three environmental categories in which the challenges occur. These are the physical, the social and the economic environment. Among the occurring challenges, weak infrastructures, limited access to finance, lack of networks and the continuing migration of the rural population present the main rural obstacles for entrepreneurs. Apart from the challenges, the rural environment also gives rise to several opportunities and potential competitive advantages for rural entrepreneurship. Their main rural competitive advantage is located in the domains of innovation. Other aspects like locational characteristics, the rise of the internet, local resources or unique products also play an influential role in entrepreneurial opportunities as they are needed to compensate for the challenging environmental forces. The impacts of social enterprises and other supporting instances are researched with the purpose to see how rural entrepreneurship can be developed and supported. With supporting measures in the areas of financing, mentoring, networking, business plan development or skill training, social enterprises can manifest their considerable positive impacts on rural entrepreneurship. Furthermore, the influence of the LEADER program is briefly described because of its ability to assist and support both social enterprises as well as rural entrepreneurs. For the purpose of guiding policy makers and local governments towards a more effective way of fostering entrepreneurship, policy implications and recommendations are presented for various levels of authority.
These include numerous measures, among them recommendations like treating rural and urban areas equally in terms of importance to policy makers, supporting female entrepreneurship, increasing the provision of financial support for entrepreneurs or differentiating entrepreneurs by their economic sector and impact are highly advised to take into consideration. The final objective of this master thesis is to gather new insights from the relationship between rural entrepreneurs and supporting institutions. In this domain, the importance of typologies shows that policy makers and supporting instances still can improve their supporting approaches. Appropriate categories for entrepreneurs will turn out to be beneficial because intervening and supporting measures can be directed more efficiently towards those entrepreneurs who have more economy Impacts or who need the most support. Furthermore, a potential pitfall for the financially well-equipped LEADER program was found. The avoidance of this pitfall may result in a considerable benefit for rural entrepreneurship. Social enterprises are rather depending on policy implications, could social enterprises achieve to find common ground with policy makers, considerable supporting impacts on rural entrepreneurship would be possible through this cooperation.