If realising a business idea in a city is hard, think how much harder it can be in a remote village, where the lack of support structures makes it sometimes impossible to become an entrepreneur without moving away.

Our CERUSI project was going the extra mile to change this situation: With our innovative approach of "Rural Social Innovation Labs Caravans&Labs", we  made their support to the people. We literally harvested the challenges from the local communities and supported them in further developing their ideas and solutions. Partners from seven central European countries led by the Austrian Centre for Social Innovation, cooperated together with local action groups, regional development and business support organisations, NGOs and local communities, to create an environment where potentials can thrive.

With the caravans, citizens got an opportunity to discuss entrepreneurial challenges of their communities and their existing business ideas directly in their hometowns. They could also participate in "Rural Social Innovation Labs" to work on their ideas and find solutions with the support of experts, or connect with possible business partners, sponsors, and donors. This innovative support framework enables partnerships between local actors that are interested in bringing their region forward and in exchanging experiences to make their dream ideas come true.

But this is not all:  Along with the caravan labs, CERUSI offered also a digital "Rural Social Innovation Academy" that gives additional guidance on how to develop a business idea in a socially innovative way. In less than a year it already attracted 547 participants, including Maike from Kriebitzsch, Germany. Maike plans to give a new life to the former "Konsum" of her home town, which was a grocery shop in East German times but has been abandoned for thirty years. After participating in the CERUSI caravans labs and academy, her plan to build a “Kreativkonsum”, which is not only a grocery shop but also a space for social and creative activities with the local community, is now taking shape. To find financing for her idea, she kicked off the fundraising campaign „Hast du mal nen Euro“ ("Do you have some change“) with support from experts and already raised nearly 3000 Euro.

Project Outputs

Are you interested in joining our Rural Social Innovation Partnership? 

Read this Memorandum of Understanding & contact us. 

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Project Partners

In the CERUSI project we have 9 partners from 7 central European countries: