Hivos sees entrepreneurial men and women in rural areas as a lever for sustainable change: with a more even playing field and focused support, potential rural entrepreneurs can turn their production into viable businesses and be important actors in societal transformation towards a more sustainable and equitable economy at a local and global level. This improves not only their position but that of rural communities and benefits the global community. GE strongly believes in green and inclusive development. Our approach is based on insights and lessons learned from our earlier work and that of others. We are aware that our insights and the assumptions are incomplete and are likely to change in the future as knowledge evolves.
Rural entrepreneurs can be effective drivers for change. Rural areas and the agricultural sector offer opportunities for poor and marginalised people. Most poor people live in rural areas and depend on agricultural activities and natural resources. They are seriously affected by climate change, environmental degradation, and market exclusion, and eager to improve their situation. Simultaneously, entrepreneurial rural men and women can drive poverty reduction and sustainable natural resource management. Rural people, especially small-scale producers (m/f), women, and small and medium enterprises, are increasingly recognised for their contribution to local and global food security, to sustainable economic development at national level and the management of natural resources and biodiversity. In addition, significant gains can be realised in the mitigation of climate change, as global agriculture is responsible for roughly one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Entrepreneurs reinforce each other’s businesses through trade and competition, thereby vitalising communities. To reach their full potential, rural entrepreneurs need to be supported by appropriate services and an enabling environment that foster their economic and political agency.