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[EXP] Testing structures for rural entrepreneurs in Limousin region

Rural topic(s): Attracting new inhabitants in rural areas, Rural entrepreneurship and diversification of activities, Education and training in rural areas

Type: Innovative experience

Date of writing: September 17, 2010

Author(s) of this page: Agnès Courboulay – association De fil en réseaux

Organization(s): RENETA (National Network of Test-farming Areas)


7 organisations from Limousin region have been working together to study the conditions needed for the emergence of agri-rural test sites in Limousin.


The plateau de Millevaches, a French rural area, is sparsely populated, has an ageing population, and a medium-altitude mountains climate. Despite its geographical and economic situation, the dynamic local civil society contributes to attracting new inhabitants in the area. As there are few job opportunities, some of these new inhabitants create their own activity. There is a real need for these people to test their activity (especially for farming projects) in an economic, technical, environmental and social perspective, and with regard to its link to the local context. Many structures exist to test one’s project, but all of them fail to accompany projects holders in the very beginning of their initiative : to make sure the person really wants to work in the field she has identified, to see whether she really wants to live in a rural area, and to check whether she is able to be an entrepreneur.

Our aim is to develop testing structures for these people to experiment their project in real conditions while minimising the risks and the financial investments. As a first step, we are currently assessing the necessary conditions for the creation and the networking of test structures so as to create a strong network. This is a real issue as these structures can contribute to rural economic development, they enable local people to build their life project in rural areas and they favour the handing down of local know-how.


Agnès Courboulay – association De fil en réseaux ;

ucie Rivers Moore, association Pivoine.


Scale of intervention : Regional

Keywords: attracting new residents, rural entrepreneurship, farm succession, business incubator, job creation

Places: France

Actors: multi-stakeholders, association, group / platform, farmer

Methods: experimentation, non formal learning, support to project, intermediation and facilitation