MOOC: Sustainable Rural Social Entrepreneurship 5 ects

Ruralia institute and the Master’s Programme in Agricultural, Environmental and Resource economics are jointly offering the MOOC course Sustainable Rural Social Entrepreneurship (AGERE-A09). The international course available in DigiCampus learning environment gives an overview to the social entrepreneurship and its use in rural development in Finland and for example in Romania, Estonia and Japan.

Social enterprises are growing their importance as a tool for the development of rural communities across Europe and beyond. They are used to breaking the vicious circle many rural communities suffer such as: accessibility challenges due to long distance, ageing population, diminishing local services, the outmigration of the young, reductions in public financing, lack of jobs etc. Social enterprises and community-based social enterprises are ways to improve the livelihoods of rural residents. They can be used to create new, easily accessible services for the old and young in rural communities and to create new jobs and business opportunities and diminish social exclusion.

The definition for social enterprise varies among countries. Nevertheless, social enterprises always have three core dimensions. 1) Economic and entrepreneurial dimension, which means continuous service or goods providing, economic risk is taken by employed workers in addition to volunteers. 2) Social dimension — social enterprise is a collective initiative launched by a community or a group of people. These enterprises have social goals, and their aim is to benefit the community and do business in a socially responsible way. 3) Participatory governance — Equal decision-making that is not based on the capital share and involve wide variety of parties. 

Learning outcome

After completing this course, you know what social enterprises and community-based social enterprises are and how they can be used in the development of rural communities in Europe and other parts of the world.

You will learn to:

  • Recognize different approaches to local entrepreneurship and the special features of social entrepreneurship in the field of sustainable entrepreneurship.
  • Apply the tools of social entrepreneurship at practical and theoretical level. 
  • Plan, organize and realize the sustainable development of local communities.
  • Integrate different approaches in the analysis of rural development.

Pre-requirements for completing the course

This interdisciplinary course is a part of studies on master’s programme Agricultural, Environmental and Resource Economics (AGERE). Students from all fields of study are welcome to this multidisciplinary course. A keen interest in rural development and social enterprises are required. Knowing the basics of business and entrepreneurship are recommended before starting the course.

Additional information on Digicampus course site.

The course has been created in the European Union’s Erasmus+ funded project Joint Master’s Curriculum in Rural Community Development (RuralCom) in 2020–2023.

See more about the project at Research Portal.