Entrepreneurship and rural economic development: a scenario analysis approach

Authors Organisations
Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-305
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to advocate the use of scenario analysis to develop foresight for the improvement of policies supporting rural entrepreneurship and illustrate the approach with an application in Mid Wales.

Design/methodology/approach – A general overview of the economic problems of rural areas and their manifestation in the case study of Mid Wales is followed by an outline of the origins and approach of scenario analysis. Application of the technique involved a group of policy makers and entrepreneurs undertaking a structured programme of scenario development. The resulting scenarios, their usefulness for enterprise support, and wider implications are summarised.

Findings – The scenario analysis exercise enabled key stakeholders to confront and deal with considerable uncertainties by developing a shared understanding of the barriers to small firm growth and rural economic regeneration.

Research limitations/implications – A major conclusion is that effective approaches for support of rural entrepreneurship differ widely according to context and need to take in to account a range of external issues. Further research, which extends the approach beyond the case discussed in this paper and focuses on the social learning dimension of participation, would help to validate these findings.

Originality/value – The use of scenarios for the analysis of policy questions is rare and this paper opens new ways of working for enterprise agencies and other stakeholders promoting the growth of employment and income in a rural context.


  • economic development, entrepreneurialism, research methods, rural areas, Wales