BY KERRY ANDERSON
During an entrepreneurship workshop I was recently facilitating for a dairy community in north-central Victoria, I was asked this interesting question. Are rural people more entrepreneurial than in the city?
It was a great question and one that I have pondered many times over the past six years I’ve been exploring rural entrepreneurship here and overseas. Instead of being compelled to argue with my city counterparts that rural entrepreneurs are also worthy of celebrating, I was being asked to judge whether they are, in fact, more entrepreneurial.
Here is what I think and I welcome your thoughts as well.
In a rural town there are fewer employment options hence I think that it is natural there is a higher interest in small business ownership and creation.
It is also no secret that adversity is a great breeding ground for entrepreneurs. On top of all the economic downturns experienced by our city counterparts, rural Australian communities are routinely impacted by fire, flood and drought.
No matter where you live, as businesses close or staff levels are reduced due to automation, it is often a trigger for people with creative minds to ponder what opportunities they can create for themselves, often creating employment for others in the process.
Rural communities include some of the most innovative people I know. Problem solving is a common attribute. Hours away from a spare parts depot, rural people are adept at banging up their own solution in the workshop. Some wonderful inventions have come out of rural industries and they continue to innovate all the time to remain competitive in a global market.
Through density of population there are clearly more job choices in cities and arguably customers. However; for three reasons, I would argue that small business creation is more popular in the bush.
1. The cost of purchasing real estate and living in a rural town is far cheaper not to mention the benefit of enjoying a clean, green lifestyle.
2. In what is being referred to as the digital age, there is an increasing mix of opportunities not to mention a global market, for online and remote businesses.
3. Rural communities value small business and are incredibly supportive as customers, mentors and investors.
While genuine entrepreneurs are few and far between, and they can be found in any city or rural town; my feeling is that through adversity entrepreneurs are compelled to act on their ideas more in rural areas.
What are your thoughts?
KERRY ANDERSON: Author of ‘Entrepreneurship: It’s Everybody’s Business,’ Kerry works with small businesses and rural communities to help them embrace new opportunities. READ MORE