The Rural Entrepreneur in Context


Entrepreneurship is becoming an increasingly important set of activities to the success and continuous renewal of local, regional and national economies. As innovators, by definition, entrepreneurs bring fresh ideas, new products and services, and welcome/edifying disruption to our economies. In doing so, they build personal, family and community wealth that can transform lives. At one time, scholars of entrepreneurship believed that successful entrepreneurs possessed traits with which they were born. Subsequent research has disproved that theory. This is good news for us who aspire to be entrepreneurs. It means that the skills of entrepreneurship can be learned. However, learning how to be an entrepreneur is not only about the individual and the skills he/she must master, it is about understanding and connecting to the context within which the entrepreneur operates. This unit examines the development of the entrepreneur within a rural context. It explores the self-awareness that is essential to successful entrepreneurship. It looks at the needs of entrepreneurs and the skill set they must master to consistently meet those needs. It also examines the process that entrepreneurs use to make decisions. These are all topics that pertain to the individual entrepreneur. The unit also sets the context for rural entrepreneurship by defining and mapping rural ecosystems and examining the art of building entrepreneurial networks that support rural entrepreneurship.

Learning outcomes:

The learning outcomes for this unit are as follows:

  • Understanding of the role of entrepreneurship in rural communities;

  • Self-awareness relative to the student’s own entrepreneurial propensity;

  • Understanding of the unique traits, behaviors, cognitive processes and skills of entrepreneurs;

  • Understanding the support ecosystem for entrepreneurship that exists in every community and how to navigate it;

  • Appreciating the value of planning (strategic and business) to successful entrepreneurship;

  • Comprehending the role of technology in entrepreneurship;

  • Knowing how to diagnose one’s own needs as an entrepreneur and use this knowledge to pursue resources;

  • Knowing how to build a network of entrepreneurs and use it effectively

  • Understanding how to define and distinguish between creativity and innovation and their place in the innovation process.


  • Online discussions (10%)

  • Self-Reflection Journal (20%)

  • Discussion of x2 Case Studies- 1,000 words (15% each)

  • Research Paper – 3,000 (40 %)