Entrepreneurship actions which might have an impact on rural communities are embedded in broader agricultural, rural, or structural policies at the European level. Still, there is a general lack of rural strategies focused on entrepreneurship, particularly in ageing and depopulated rural areas. To reach new horizons in pursuit of economic growth and innovation, entrepreneurship needs to be given greater recognition as a means to revitalize rural areas. European education institutions need to ignite an entrepreneurial spirit among adult learners and to integrate them into a process where they need to generate creative solutions to real-life challenges of rural communities.

Our Erasmus+ funded project “Advancing Rural Development through Entrepreneurship Education for Adults” (ARDENT) has been developed with a clear goal: to unlock the potential of rural entrepreneurship. ARDENT will equip Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) with knowledge and tools to develop an attractive learning offer for adult learners in rural areas by focusing on the development of their entrepreneurial skills. In this way, the university can engage with society and achieve synergies through lifelong learning in the form of entrepreneurship to promote rural development. These features make ARDENT a unique pan-European pilot initiative with high impact potentials on the transfer of competences from HEIs to the adult communities in rural areas, to seed in them the basis to become job creators and not job seekers.

Münster University of Applied Sciences is proud to be leading the ARDENT partner consortium and strongly believes in initiatives like this. By joining forces on this project, we will be able to leverage a much greater understanding of the needs and solutions for rural regions than could be achieved on our own, thus producing much more relevant, high quality, and sustainable learning resources. We will do our best to make ARDENT a source of inspiration for those who want to start similar initiatives and are keen to foster entrepreneurial thinking in rural communities.


Prof. Dr. Thorsten Kliewe

Deputy Managing Director & Research Director at Science-to-Business Marketing Research Centre MUAS