Entrepreneurship has long been a subject of fascination for researchers, policymakers, and business enthusiasts. However, much of the literature and research has primarily focused on urban entrepreneurship, which has led to an urban-centric understanding of entrepreneurial behavior. Rural entrepreneurship, on the other hand, operates in a markedly different environment and is characterized by resource constraints, often occurring in underdeveloped areas. In this article, we explore the concept of rural entrepreneurship through a resource-based lens, emphasizing its unique characteristics, significance, and potential in promoting sustainable livelihoods in rural communities.


The Sustainable Livelihood Perspective

In the realm of rural entrepreneurship, the sustainable livelihood perspective is a crucial framework. It acknowledges that rural entrepreneurship is deeply intertwined with the resources and capacities needed to combat poverty in rural regions. Unlike urban entrepreneurship, which often revolves around the exploitation of opportunities, rural entrepreneurship serves as a means to alleviate poverty, create value for the community, and foster more resilient localities.


The Neglect of Rural Entrepreneurship

Over the years, the entrepreneurship literature has shifted its focus from the qualities of individual entrepreneurs to the mechanisms by which various actors discover, enact, evaluate, and exploit opportunities for creating businesses and value. While this evolution is essential, it has, unfortunately, resulted in the neglect of rural entrepreneurial activity, particularly in underdeveloped and resource-constrained regions. The scarcity of theoretical and empirical studies on rural entrepreneurship limits our understanding of its dynamics and potential.


The Role of Rural Entrepreneurship

Rural entrepreneurship plays a pivotal role in alleviating extreme poverty and reducing inequalities in areas where institutional support is often lacking. This type of entrepreneurship contributes to creating a more inclusive and sustainable future, particularly in emerging economies. Here are some key roles rural entrepreneurship fulfills:


  1. Poverty Alleviation: Rural entrepreneurship emerges out of necessity due to the scarcity of resources in these regions. Local governments often step in to provide physical and financial resources, along with training and technical assistance, to help rural entrepreneurs succeed. These efforts are instrumental in addressing poverty-related challenges.
  2. Community Value Creation: Rural entrepreneurs have the potential to create value not only for themselves but also for their communities. Through their activities, they generate employment, enhance local economies, and improve the overall quality of life in rural areas.
  3. Resilient Localities: Rural entrepreneurship contributes to the resilience of local economies. By diversifying economic activities and reducing dependence on a single industry, rural areas become more robust in the face of economic shocks and challenges.


Resource-Based View of Rural Entrepreneurship

To gain a more comprehensive understanding of rural entrepreneurship, it is crucial to examine it not only from the perspective of opportunity exploitation but also from a resource-based view. The resource-based view recognizes that rural entrepreneurs often have limited access to resources, and their ability to create sustainable businesses hinges on effectively utilizing the resources available to them.


Necessity Entrepreneurship in Rural Areas

While entrepreneurship in urban settings is often characterized as opportunity-driven, rural entrepreneurship leans more towards necessity entrepreneurship. The lack of resources and limited opportunities in rural areas necessitates entrepreneurial activities as a means of survival and poverty reduction.