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European Startup Village Forum

Upcoming events

The European Startup Village Forum

This 2023 edition of the Forum will discuss the main elements and enabling conditions of the Startup Village concept through a genuine science-for-policy interaction, supporting the identification and analysis of triggering factors for innovation and startup creation in rural areas.

Past events

16 Nov 2021: Launch Event

This launch event of the European Startup Village Forum is specifically aimed at gathering insights on challenges and potentials for rural innovation and rural innovators in a genuine science-for-policy and evidence-for-policy setting.

15 June 2022: The Rural Pact Conference

The Rural Pact conference will bring together EU, national, and regional politicians along with local authorities, social and economic stakeholders in a participatory event that reflects the rural vision’s ambition and bottom-up character

28-29 Sep 2022: European Research and Innovation Days 2022

European Research and Innovation Days is the European Commission’s annual flagship Research and Innovation event, bringing together policymakers, researchers, entrepreneurs and the public to debate and shape the future of research and innovation in Europe and beyond.

21-23 Oct 2022: Startup Village Hackathon

How rural areas can become a centre of attraction for startups? During this hackathon, participants will have to create a vision for selected rural or intermediate regions and choose one of the challenges of the AgriFood sector presented by industry companies from all over Europe. The event is organized under the patronage of Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.


During the 2021 launching event, Commissioner Gabriel opened a call for pledges that could offer financial but also in-kind support, such as provision of co-working spaces, IT infrastructure or expertise, coaching, mentoring or training, aiming at creating startups and job opportunities in rural areas. To this call, several companies committed themselves in supporting startup villages and more than 40 villages from all over the EU have sent proposals responding to the pledge. 



Awarded startup villages

Municipality Šmartno pri Litiji


Co-working hub RISE

Chengene Skele


Burgas Municipality



RDI hub



Development agency Heart of Istria

Nomad Village Ponta do Sol


Startup Madeira Digital Nomads Madeira Islands

Caunedo (Somiedo) Asturias

Spain - Living Lab by Aeers




Vorupør, Thy


Surf & Work - Silicon VØ






START.N - New Work Kitzbühel

Berzosa del Lozoya



Full list of projects

11 LIPIEC 2022
Startup Village Winners Summary
(606.56 KB - PDF)

Successful startup ecosystems are embedded in networks of founders and partners. Partners such as investors, accelerators, universities, companies, and public administrations.
Therefore, we need the support of all the stakeholders present here with us, in this important launch event of the Startup Village Forum.
And I would like to invite public and private organisations: from corporates to startups and foundations, to ‘pledge’ your support to the Startup Village initiative.
We have opened a section in the web site of this Forum where you can indicate the support you can provide. Your pledges can be financial but also in-kind, such as provision of co-working spaces, IT infrastructure or know-how, such as coaching or training.
I see this call for pledges as a main channel to gather commitment from public and especially from private organisations for Startup Villages. They will be important to build a real long-term vision for rural areas, anchored in the territories.

Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.
Mariya Gabriel

Long-term vision for the EU's rural areas

Building the future of rural areas together



The EU’s rural areas are a core component of the European way of life. They are home to around 140 million people, representing around 30% of the EU’s population and over 80% of the EU’s territory.

Yet, over the last decades, social and economic changes such as globalisation and urbanisation have affected rural areas, leading in some areas to population decline and ageing. The COVID-19 pandemic with its asymmetrical impact on European territories has added uncertainty to vulnerability while opening new promising perspectives. Many Europeans are worried about the erosion of rural infrastructure and service provision, including access to healthcare, social services and education as well as to postal and banking services. Others express concerns about shrinking employment opportunities and possible drop in income in rural areas or limited transport and digital connectivity that limits access to markets.

However, in this looming context, rural areas can turn vulnerabilities into opportunities. For instance, numerous talented professionals are moving towards rural areas, attracted to their better quality of life and access to green spaces – and talent attraction and retention can be seen a key building block of flourishing rural innovation ecosystems.

The long—term vision for rural areas recognizes the key enabling role innovation can play to empower citizens and businesses to seize these opportunities. It also recognizes that rural innovation is currently under-valued and that innovation ecosystems need to be improved.

In order to tackle the challenges and reap the opportunities for wellbeing and growth related to innovation in rural areas, the long-term vision has put in place a flagship action on research and innovation for rural communities. The flagship action includes support for the development of innovations by and for rural communities as well as enhancing training opportunities and fostering knowledge exchange and cooperation among rural innovators.

This knowledge exchange and cooperation currently takes place within “Rural networks” (soon to become the CAP networks) including the European innovation partnership on agriculture productivity and sustainability (EIP-AGRI) and the European network for rural development (ENRD), actions conducted in the context of the EU action on smart villages, and the thematic smart specialisation partnerships on agri-food.

The annual Startup Village Forum is part of the implementation of this flagship action. Its first edition will take place in 2022. It will complement the knowledge exchange and cooperation activities by focusing on the needs of startups and entrepreneurs that may not be covered to their full potential, especially in sectors outside of farming, forestry and related value chains. To this end, the forum aims at: (i) supporting the further development of rural innovation ecosystems; (ii) identifying and analysing triggering factors for innovation in rural areas; and (iii) connecting rural innovation actors across the EU with a focus on start-ups. It is intended to work as an open space where institutions and stakeholders can meet, discuss and shape action for start-up-driven innovation in rural areas.


Today’s launch of the Start-up Village Forum is a new beginning for rural areas. It is a reflection of the importance that the Commission attaches to supporting rural areas, because it is in rural areas that the demographic transition is most visible. Through the Start-up Village Forum we want the best and brightest of Europe to remain in these and contribute to building prosperity as they grow their start-up companies to real long term drivers of our economy, all while using the natural potential of Europe’s rural areas.

Dubravka Šuica, Vice-President for Demography and Democracy.
Dubravka Šuica

Today, rural areas offer a wealth of opportunities to seize, as laid out in the long-term vision for rural areas. Fostering rural innovation should largely contribute to the green and digital transition, benefiting our rural communities, our farmers and society as a whole. The Start-up Village Forum plays an important role, by connecting start-ups, rural actors and public authorities to share knowledge and experiences. I look forward to this year’s discussions and upcoming editions.

Januzs Wojciechowski, Commissioner for Agriculture.
Januzs Wojciechowski

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The Startup Village Forum team
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