The problem of depopulation in rural territories are growing and affects 75% of the European territory. The SUDOE territories are, together with the septentrional countries, the most affected by depopulation. In the European, national and regional public policies of the SUDOE space, initiatives to tackle the problem of depopulation in rural territories are growing. Recent initiatives include the report on the deployment of cohesion policy instruments by regions to address demographic change (2016/2245 (INI)), approved by the European Parliament.
The main causes of the process of depopulation are the lack of services and opportunities for the population. At present, there are a great number of resources and tools in the Web to foster the innovation. In Europe, two of the main innovation platforms in rural development are the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability, and the European Network for Rural Development (ENRD). These platforms have demonstrated to be very effective.
EXPLORE is been designed to work in three directions:
1. To find opportunities. Despite the enormous quantity of information available in the Web, some Local Development Groups managers recognise the lack of breadth of vision in the possibilities of innovation that entrepreneurs have in their territories. To save this, EXPLORE will offer an added value to other platforms (ENRD or EIP), capitalizing on the opportunities available, especially on the Web, to explore, analyze and identify those most likely successful, a priori, in SUDOE rural areas in the process of depopulation.
2. To study entrepreneur profile interested in settle in each territory. EXPLORE pretends to study their needs, barriers, motivations and channels to make they receive the opportunities to settle in a territory.
3. To make proposals for public policies that promote rural development (services and infrastructures) to facilitate a sustainable innovation to fix and attract entrepreneurs and workers. In light of the results of the analysis of needs, barriers and opportunities, measures differentiated according to the needs and requirements of each territory will be proposed.
As result, EXPLORE will propose:
* A methodological framework to identify the opportunities for each territory, considering their needs, strengths, resources and context. To do this, we will have the collaboration of stakeholders (administrations, dynamic agents and groups of entrepreneurs) to boots innovative entrepreneurship in an integrating framework of interests and capabilities, adapted to each territory.
* Developing a Web platform, using Big Data technology, to collect and analyse all information, as well as to find the best opportunity for each entrepreneur and territory.
* Identifying and profiling the entrepreneurs interested in settle in each territory.
* Supporting the identification of the most suitable services and infrastructures to fix and attract entrepreneurs and workers.