RurInno acknowledges social enterprises as promising but often neglected drivers of social innovations in structurally weak rural regions. Social enterprises strive to tackle social problems and to stabilise and improve the living conditions in these regions. However, reports show that social entrepreneurs still lack specialised trainings and education, a supporting infrastructure and recognition. Against this background, RurInno aims at

1) strengthening the skills and the innovative capacity of social entrepreneurs operating in rural regions,

2) improving the knowledge of how social innovations are implemented in rural regions and

3) raising awareness of social entrepreneurship in rural regions in order to foster enabling environments for their activities.

The successful implementation will be enabled by the close collaboration of two outstanding research institutes (IRS/Germany, IFI/Austria)  and four award winning social enterprises (NIDA/Poland, Stevia Hells/Greece, Otelo/Austria, Ballyhoura Development/Ireland) with complementary expertise. We strengthen the innovative skills of social entrepreneurs with a structured training programme and knowledge exchange. Multifaceted training modules like workshops, field inspections, research-practice labs and joint analyses sessions foster skills enhancement in different ways: knowledge sharing and applying, best practice learning, learning by doing and learning from comparisons. We enhance our knowledge about the innovative capacity of rural social enterprises by field research in the four participating social enterprises and their respective rural regions. By integrate the social enterprises into the research process we enhance the perspective from doing research on social entrepreneurs to doing research with social entrepreneurs.