[ Summary ]
Implementing a strategy to boost economic competitiveness
3.3 Creating a collective dynamic that encourages a multiplier effect
It is not easy to create a multiplier effect in rural areas from
publicly funded support measures such as LEADER (upstream,
downstream, or job-creating measures), neither can this be achieved
in the very short term. The fragmentation of businesses and the
trend towards demographic decline do not, for example, help to
create a positive impact upstream and downstream of the sector.
Therefore in order to create a multiplier effect it is necessary to
orchestrate a collective dynamic that involves many players who
forge different types of links between themselves.
The creation of such a dynamic requires:
- methods for integrating a growing number of players into
publicly funded activities (including the public players
- methods for risk sharing;
- methods for managing conflict and opposition.
a) Integrating a growing number of players
Even where a new measure for producing a multiplier effect is
started up initially on a core group of “trail blazers” who agree to
assume the risk, it very soon becomes necessary to involve further
players in order to make the measure viable, especially where the
measure is designed to redevelop an untapped resource.
However, increasing the number of players is a long-term process.
The type of coordination promoted by LEADER often plays a decisive
role in this process.
When re-introducing indigenous breeds of sheep into Austria, Belgium
and Luxembourg, pioneer sheep producers launched the project and
gradually brought in other producers, in order to “cement” the
process. This multiplies the downstream impact: growing interest
from the hotel and catering trade, tourist operators and wool
processors who adopt the new raw material. Upstream it creates
demand for specialised services to care for the unusual breeds.
b) Encouraging risk sharing
How much support a project receives from entrepreneurs and other
local players depends on a host of different factors. From an
economic standpoint, the risk factor weighs very heavily, especially
for innovative measures where the uncertainties are great.
The effective participation of the players will, therefore, depend
on what share of the risk is assumed by the public sector, as well
as on the social environment of the project promoter/risk-taker. For
example, in certain rural societies, risk-taking is quite naturally
assumed by the family, whereas in others, risk-taking has to be
organised by bringing in external elements. LEADER funding, which is
by nature based on risk sharing, is used to develop potentially
interesting, though risky, activities.
c) Fostering the resolution of conflict and opposition
In many cases, social or cultural obstacles (lack of trust, local
disputes, lack of promoters, etc.) prevent local players from
participating in collective approaches. In such cases, economic
competitiveness is limited by the lack, or inadequacy, of social
competitiveness, so by building links, people are obliged to create
consultation forums and seek “win-win” solutions .
 See “Constructing a territorial development
strategy in the light of the LEADER experience -
Part 2: social competitiveness”, LEADER European