Gerard McElwee and Andrew Atherton This chapter defines the concept of a rural economy; it indicates what the drivers of success in a rural economy are and identifies the barriers confronting entrepreneurs in the rural environment and the strategies that can be used in order to overcome these barriers. It continues by considering some of the pressures on the rural environment in developed economies, before conceptualizing the rural entrepreneur and defining rural entrepreneurship. The problem of definition is not confined to entrepreneurship for there also are issues of conceptualization when terms such as ‘rural’ or ‘rurality’ are used. Furthermore, Beedell and Rehman (2000) suggest that to understand the phenomenon necessitates understanding rural entrepreneurs’ attitudes and motivation in an environmental/ conservation awareness context. For the purpose of this contribution rural businesses are defined as those occupied on a part or full time basis and engaged in a range of activities that are primarily dependent on the natural and physical resources of the rural environment as the main source of income and or utilize local labour to achieve business objectives. This definition includes tourism, food production and processing, for example (see Figure 42.1). It excludes those firms which do not contribute to a local economy and trade outside of the local(ized) area. The definition would also include social entrepreneurship (see separate entry in this volume). Corman and Lussier (1996), suggest that the importance of adopting community, ethical and social responsibilities as a way of doing business is becoming increasingly necessary to...
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