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Support systems for new activities in rural areas

Part 1 - The support system
Specific support for each stage
of the project's life cycle

How to use this guide & Table of Contents


Each stage of a project's life cycle has
different needs in terms of information and
assistance, training and improvement of
skills, office space and equipment, funding,
technology and promotional and commercial tools.


The various stages of a project

Projects for new activities, products and services nearly always follow a specific life cycle:

    Stage 1 - From the birth of an idea as the result of a perceived need, problem or opportunity to the preliminary definition of a project;

    Stage 2 - From the preliminary project to the first adult steps required for the start-up of a new activity;

    Stage 3 - From the start-up to maturity with viable and self-sustained development.

At different stages of their life cycle, projects have different needs in terms of information and advice, trained and experienced labour, land and premises, finance, technology and marketing.


Examples of the types of services needed at
each stage of the project's life cycle

Stage 1 - From the need or opportunity to the preliminary project:

  • Information, screening and first-stage advice;
  • Animation and detection of potential project promoters;
  • Training for capacity building and the generation of ideas;
  • Strategic information and orientation on sectors, markets, the characteristics of local production, etc.

Stage 2 - From the preliminary project to the start-up:

  • Preparing business plans/counselling;
  • Specialist advice and training;
  • Financial support;
  • Premises.

Stage 3 - From the start-up to viable development:

  • General follow-up and aftercare;
  • Specialist support and training;
  • Technological support;
  • Joint promotion and marketing.

No area or project is ever the same. The skill of the development worker lies precisely in knowing the types, levels, timing and sequence of support that is needed in each case.

The next step is to orchestrate the supply or provision of support according to the project's needs. These services are either provided directly by the LAG or, in many cases, by other public or private bodies.

The aim should never be to substitute for project promoters but simply to ensure that they are able to follow a series of accessible and well marked steps on their path to self-sustained growth and development.

Some services are best provided on a one-off basis, at the beginning, middle or end of project life-cycles. Others are required continuously throughout the entire process. At any one point, therefore, a project will probably be using a number of different services, possibly from different agencies.

One of the advantages of the LEADER groups is that they are able to design individual support packages or itineraries that really respond to the needs of project promoters.

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