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Support systems for new activities in rural areas
Part 1 - The support system
How to use this guide & Table of Contents
The composition, objectives and strategic
Two types of approach
From the outset, the LEADER group must define the mission that it has set itself:
Three types of partnership
In the case of the LEADER partnership, the main influences do not only depend on the formal representation or control of the key decision-making bodies, but also on informal factors such as who initiated the partnership and who are the most dynamic or vocal members.
Broadly speaking, there are three main types of partnership (see the dossier "Organising local partnerships", LEADER European Observatory / AEIDL, 1997):
1. Many LEADER groups have very close links with the public sector (regional and local authorities and the various services that are dependent on them). This status gives them access to considerable resources. Some LAGs even form part of a development support system set up by regional authorities.
2. Many other LAGs have strong roots in community organisations. In general, their activities tends to favour animation, training and capacity raising directed at disadvantaged groups or areas.
3. Few LEADER groups have originated from or are controlled by the private sector (although nearly all of the groups have some form of private sector representation). They are often more concerned with solving the needs of existing businesses than encouraging start-ups.
Two types of organisation
The range of organisational forms and sizes of LEADER groups is very large. Nevertheless, there are two extremes:
The basic team normally includes a manager, a secretary-receptionist, an employee in charge of accounts and project files and one other person. Salaries vary enormously from the amounts needed to pay the living costs of committed local activists to the amounts needed to retain expensive private consultants. In general, however, they appear to be gravitating towards the levels paid in the public sector for people with equivalent levels of responsibility.
Staff generally come from a training, research, community or public sector background. There are relatively few people with private sector experience. In this context, it is obviously important for LEADER groups to be realistic about the support they can provide.
This is in stark contrast to other types of support structures: for example, Business and Innovation Centres normally have a core staff of around 9 people (a manager with at least five years' business experience, 5 specialist advisors and 3 administrative staff). Salaries are meant to match the rates paid by the private sector. 20-25% of the total budget is spent on contracting in specialist advice. These Centres normally manage an enterprise hotel of around 5000 m2. They may manage or have special access to risk capital. However, they do not manage a global grant or have access to their own funds for grant giving.