Economic development in rural regions – new thinking and policies in finding and exploiting endogenous capacities


Växjö, Sweden

Teleborgs Slott

2 October 2018

Slottsallén 12
351 12 Växjö

Learn from others while being aware of local context”, Developing quadruple helix collaboration at the local and regional leveland the need of more engagement and support mechanisms for SME” summarize some of the key conclusions and learning points of the ESPON Transnational Outreach Seminar that took place in Växjö, Sweden.

This ESPON Transnational Outreach Seminar examined economic development in rural areas and featured presentations on changing geographies of growth, rural initiatives to stimulate entrepreneurship, a wider view of rural development across the Baltic region and an overview of three ESPON projects and research on SME development, Foreign Direct Investment and rural shrinkage.

Northern rural regions share similar challenges: how to attract and retain knowledge and talent; how to stimulate entrepreneurship and how to match skills with job opportunities. More problematic is how to identify who is responsible for rural policies and at what level policy initiatives should be developed and implemented.  

Growth areas for rural development were examined during this seminar: bio-economy, silver economy and the circular economy. Rural economies need to exploit their endogenous resources – in areas such as natural capital, heritage, renewable energy, bio-economy and tourism – and exploit trust and partnerships to achieve successful results. Since funding is needed to facilitate capacity building and increase access to knowledge, rural regions need to invest in improving their public procurement policies, provide adequate infrastructures and build strategies of resilience. More attention is also needed in engagement and support mechanisms for SMEs at the local and regional level.

The debate on ‘smart shrinkage’ and rightsizing economies and services was raised for discussion among the participants. An analysis on the ESPON research on SME performance in Europe revealed that education is the most important driver for the performance of microenterprises and that governance quality along with accessibility (often linked to urbanisation) plays a major role in the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises. 

ESPON research on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Europe reveals that FDI is attracted to strong industrial clusters and previous FDI investment, but there is no evidence that it supports regional convergence. There is a need to analyse the economic incentives that attract FDI and the role of accessibility, clusters and internationalisation in attracting FDI and exploiting its spillover effects.


Economic development in northern rural regions - English

  • Acrobat Document | 1.69MB

Economic development in northern rural regions - Swedish

  • Acrobat Document | 1.68MB

Final Report Sweden

  • Acrobat Document | 1.09MB

Save-the-Date Vaxjo

  • Acrobat Document | 272KB

Save the date Vaxjo - Swedish

  • Acrobat Document | 317KB

Kronoberg challenges and strategies - Christel Gustafsson

  • Acrobat Document | 1.97MB

Rural keys: entrepreneurship in context - Thomas Norrby

  • Acrobat Document | 5.04MB

Rural development: the Baltic context - Karen Refsgaard

  • Acrobat Document | 2.64MB

ESPON 'Shrinking rural regions in Europe' - Richard Tuffs

  • Acrobat Document | 604KB

SME in northern rural regions - Bernd Schuh

  • Acrobat Document | 2.13MB

FDI in northern rural areas - Eva Sunesen

  • Acrobat Document | 555KB

Case-Study "Vasterbotten County" - Bianca Byring

  • Acrobat Document | 2.13MB

Case Study "FDI in the Greater Copenhagen region" - Eva Sunesen

  • Acrobat Document | 774KB

Case Study "Vastra Gotaland" - Alice Borjesson

  • Acrobat Document | 136KB