Internal and External Critical Success Factors involved with ‘Rural Regeneration Initiatives’ and their influence on Rural Agri SMEs

International Journal of Applied Entrepreneurship (ISSN: 1742-5824) Volume 1 Issue 1

Adrian Sparkes* and Robbie Williams+
*Rural Enterprise Consultant +Welsh Enterprise Institute, University of Glamorgan Business School


This paper discusses critical success factors (CSFs) relevant to rural community regeneration and rural agri-small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) success. The aim is a better understanding of the CSFs appropriate to successful interventions by policy makers in the sphere of rural regeneration and in particular those factors relevant to the success of diversifying agri-entrepreneurs. A survey is described that illustrates the way Celtic Fringe Agri-food SMEs can respond to the major challenge to sustain growth in a global market through the use of appropriate CSFs.
The paper proposes a theoretical framework for CSFs as sources of differential competitive advantage and also the linkages between the relative importance of ‘bundles’ of CSFs. These in turn are examined both between and within rural communities’ regeneration initiatives (RCRI) and their local small and medium-sized agri-food (SMAFEs) and agri-tourism (SMATEs) enterprises.
The value of the framework will be as a ‘best practice model’ to inform the actions of those charged with devising interventions to assist in RCRI and the support and assistance of diversifying agri-business. The paper makes a distinction between two fundamental CSFs - internal and external and examines aspects of controllability between them. Through this an empirical challenge arises according to what combinations of CSFs will be a minimum precondition for a favourable position in the RCRI agri-food/-tourism market and what combinations result in successful market positions. An important research challenge is modelling the linkages between the CSFs and the consequential firm success on an empirical basis.
Rural Communities, SMAFEs and SMATEs are considered as three disparate groups. In reality some overlap will occur – particularly with SMAFEs and SMATEs where one farm may be operating effectively in both sectors. It is further presumed that the wealthier landowner/farmer will also be investing in community enterprises – if only through offering access to spare plant and equipment resources to assist others or through the informal employee relationship linkages. However, the aim is to study differences between these three entities and to explain by analysis of their CSFs, why some are more successful than others.
In addition it is intended that the findings from the framework, will suggest which CSFs are associated with a RCRI, SMAFE or SMATEs’ favourable position and success in the market.

Key words: Critical Success Factors, Rural Regeneration Initiatives, Rural Agri SMEs

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