Limited access to financial support, including both credit facilities and venture capital, is one of the most important obstacles to rural entrepreneurship and the development of rural businesses throughout the European Union (EU). The "financial exclusion" of rural businesses has been well documented in recent years and is attributed to a combination of economy-wide and rural-specific factors.
An ENRD Rural Finance Task Force (RFTF) was launched in April 2011 during the 11th NRN meeting organized in Bad Schandau, Germany (click here for further details).
The RFTF is an NRN Joint Action organized under the NRN Thematic Initiative on Rural Entrepreneurship. The overall aim of the thematic initiative is to identify and promote viable strategies and actions to respond to economic change in rural areas.
The RFTF undertook an exploratory survey of existing rural finance instruments in May-June 2011 and the results were presented during a workshop in Brussels on 29, June 2011. An update on progress of the RFTF (Interim Report) and a plan of action for further work was presented during the 13th NRN meeting held in Den Haag, The Netherlands on 10 November, 2011 – (See further details here).
A Final Report [PDF ] on the ENRD Rural Entrepreneurship Thematic Initiative: Rural Finance focuses on access to rural finance for micro-, small-, and medium enterprises and builds upon and integrates the results of the Interim Report on the ENRD Rural Entrepreneurship Thematic Initiative: Rural Finance, compiled by the ENRD Contact Point in October 2011.
The findings of the Final Report as well discussions on the current and future legislative propsals on financial engineering mechanisms were presented during the 14th NRN meeting organised in Thessaloniki, Greece on 2nd February 2012. (Click here for further details).
A Seminar on “Facilitating Access to Finance for Rural Micro-Enterprises” has been organised by the Latvian NRN with the support of the ENRD Contact Point on the 28th of June 2012 in Riga, Latvia. (Click here for further details).
The main objective for this seminar was to bring together various stakeholders with specific interest in credit access in rural areas. The seminar provided a unique opportunity for further discussions that helped to identify ways to improve the current and future rules on financial engineering.
Coordination Committee Workshop on Financial Engineering the 26th of October 2012)
This workshop aimed to raise awareness amongst rural development stakeholders about the opportunities for creating and utilising financial engineering tools in order to enrich the EAFRD’s potential for developing rural Europe.
The presentations and discussions drew on experiences from various EU Funds/policies and highlighted key lessons learned from managers coordinating financial instruments at local, regional and national levels. The workshop also provided the latest information on the financial instruments' provisions in the context of the Common Strategic Framework (CSF), including changes in the regulations and their future implications.
You can find further background information and links on rural finance by clicking here
You can also read EU Rural Review No 13 on “Rural development financial instruments: new opportunities for tackling the economic crisis”