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2024 Rural Entrepreneurship Conference


The Rural Entrepreneurship Conference (REC) gathers a range of national and international academics, practitioners, public servants and other stakeholders who, while developing networks, discuss different aspects of rural development, and share new knowledge informing research, policy and practice.

Conference Theme: "Empowering Rural Futures: Unleashing Entrepreneurial Potential in a Net-Zero Era"

This year's theme, 'Empowering Rural Futures: Unleashing Entrepreneurial Potential in a Net-Zero Era', focuses on driving sustainable entrepreneurship in rural areas, considering global Net-Zero commitments. The conference will explore the intersection of rural entrepreneurship, sustainability, and innovative strategies to overcome barriers in rural settings.

This theme encapsulates the dual aspects of addressing the challenges and barriers that rural entrepreneurs face (constrained entrepreneurship) and the strategies to support and empower them (conducive entrepreneurship). Moreover, it weaves in the critical element of sustainability and environmental responsibility, aligning with UK Net-Zero goals.

The theme suggests a forward-looking, solution-oriented approach, focusing on empowerment and potential. It highlights the goal of not only navigating but also thriving in the current era, where sustainability and environmental consciousness are increasingly pivotal.

In 2024, we want to reflect on this dynamic and highly unpredictable environment, and explore its impact on farmers, rural businesses, community-led social enterprises as well as wider rural communities. How can rural businesses not simply survive, but how can they thrive in these incredibly constrained contexts?

To address this and other relevant questions, and to encourage debate about drivers and impacts of rural entrepreneurship, we welcome presentations that focus on, but are not limited to, the following themes:

  • Opportunities and challenges for rural development
  • Resilience of rural businesses in times of crisis
  • Technology, digitalisation and innovation in the rural economy
  • Farming, land-based entrepreneurship and the natural environment
  • Tourism, heritage and culture in the rural economy
  • Migration and rural development
  • Communities and land
  • Rural policy, support and investments in rural entrepreneurship
  • Regional and international dimensions of rural entrepreneurship
  • Entrepreneurship and public service co-production
  • Social entrepreneurship and community enterprise
  • Social innovation and sustainable development
  • Innovative approaches to rural entrepreneurship research and practice
  • Critical perspectives and approaches informing rural theory
  • Open stream.

Key information

• Registration- Opens December 2023
• Abstract submission: March 1st
• Notification of acceptance: notified once reviewed.
• Full papers submitted for consideration in the best paper awards due: April 15th

*Registration closes April 25th*

Call for Papers

  • Call for abstracts
  • Abstract submission templates

For further information, technical issues and other enquires, please email:

Download link 1:


Download abstracts Call for abstracts info

Download link 2:

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Prices and Registration

Tickets will be live soon.

  • Delegate fees £200
  • PhD Students £180

Field Trip

A walking tour of Leeds City Centre and visits to local breweries is included in the registration fee.

REC prices include the following:

  • Buffet lunch dinners, Wednesday and Thursday
  • Welcome/Plenary session
  • Informal drinks reception on Wednesday evening
  • Conference dinner on Thursday evening
  • Friday brown bag lunch
  • Refreshments throughout the conference

Please note that the conference fees are non-refundable.

Organising Committee

  • University of Leeds, CEES - Dr Peter Gittins, Dr Deema Refai,
  • Keele University -  Dr Pattanapong Tiwasing
  • Northumbria University - Prof Gary Bosworth and Prof Robert Newbery


REC 2024 Conference Programme (Please access with Microsoft Edge)

Optional Walking Tour Activity

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Hotel and Facilities

If you are planning on staying in Leeds find out about the range of hotels and other facilities near the campus

Travel Directions

Directions and general campus information

About Leeds

Take advantage of local tourist attractions. Learn what Leeds has to offer.

Contact address

Maurice Keyworth Building,

Email address: