Oatridge Boosting Rural Entrepreneurship in Eastern Europe - SRUC Staff Help Inspire Green Business Ideas

Published Tuesday, 23rd October 2012 in Oatridge Campus news

Henge project turkey visit

Staff from the Oatridge Campus of SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College) have been in Eastern Turkey developing online materials for entrepreneurs with eco friendly ideas.

In Tarsus they joined partners from six EU countries creating a learning programme to inspire would be business people to take advantage of the natural, built and cultural heritage of their own areas, such as landscapes, wildlife, traditions and historical sites.

The scheme is part of the HENGE (Heritage and Natural Resources for Green Entrepreneurship) Project, designed to adapt and transfer best practice in rural development from Western Europe (UK and Spain) to Eastern EU countries and Turkey. 

Niall Evans, Team Leader, Environment and Countryside Management at SRUC Oatridge said:

“We hope the programme will encourage people to look at their local heritage resources like landscapes, wildlife, buildings, traditions, cuisine or song and dance and try to identify business opportunities. These could lead to self-employment and more ideally to jobs that would benefit their rural communities”.

The partners are based in Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania, Turkey and Scotland. Also attending the third development meeting for SRUC was Adrian Kitchen, Director of Business and Curriculum Development at Oatridge.

“We are hoping to open peoples eyes to the potential of what they have”, said Adrian. “The landscape or cultural heritage they regard as normal are fascinating to outsiders who are willing to pay to experience more. While the potential of eco tourism is well developed in the west it is less well recognised further east.”

With support from the Leonardo Da Vinci Transfer of Innovation fund, Niall is extending a rural enterprise guide developed under a previous EU Grundtvig Partnership Project called Panorama. He is adding to and adapting materials for online learning and support so transferring innovation from this project to the HENGE recipients.

The material development stage of the HENGE project is almost complete and translation into the five recipient languages starts on the 5th November. From January onwards there will be pilot testing of the new materials by all partners, with the online learning system being available in May 2013.

For more information on the HENGE Project contact Emilia.Barrero@sruc.ac.uk or telephone 01506 864800.

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