Rural society is facing numerous difficulties in the form of poverty, social exclusion, low level of education, etc. (Salamońska & Czeranowska, 2019; FAO, 2022). Youth are especially adversely affected by this situation. Setting up one's own business is crucial because they can produce and sell their agricultural products in rural areas. Sustainable business approach with farm and rural entrepreneurship are a key issue in rural areas to alleviate rural poverty (Naminse & Zhuang, 2018), but rural youth do not want to be involved and work in agricultural, forestry and even fishery activities. This is an important obstacle in sustainable rural development and development of new initiatives and approaches needed for rural youth not employed, nor in education or training (NEETs).
Most rural societies in developing countries struggle with both poverty and low levels of education (Salamońska & Czeranowska, 2019; FAO, 2022). Rural development can be explained as increasing production, income and welfare levels, eliminating imbalances, establishing physical and social infrastructure similar to urban areas, processes, activities and organizations in order to improve the socio-economic and cultural aspects of people living in rural areas and to evaluate agricultural products and initiatives (Nejadrezaei & Ben-Othmen, 2019). Rural development aims to minimize the socio-cultural and economic development difference between the city and the countryside by using rural resources effectively, increasing employment opportunities in rural areas, preventing
migration to the city and raising living standards (Kennedy et al., 2001; Dorobantu &
Nistoreanu, 2012). Within the scope of rural development activities, the target group consists of young people living in rural areas.
Despite the fact that the NEET concept has different definitions according to age groups there are common features on these vulnerable young people. The widest age group range is 15-34 in the NEET based on Eurostat description (Eurostat, 2020). OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) defines the NEET aged 15-29. The main aim of this paper is to define rural NEET’s current situation, describe their skills development opportunities through entrepreneurship and new initiatives in the rural areas. The paper also aims to reveal new and convenient initiatives by analyzing the scientific papers. This paper especially aimed to emphasize the importance of adaptation of rural youth to digital and technologic innovations in terms of eco-entrepreneurship approaches.
Entrepreneurship can be defined as the creation or extraction of economic value
(Gaddefors & Anderson, 2017). Entrepreneurship concept widely covers the
establishment of a new business, bringing together the production factors properly,
undertaking financial, psychological and social risks. Establishing new job opportunities and initiatives are crucial to increase rural inhabitants' welfare. This vulnerable group needs investments from both the public and private sector. On the other hand, urban society has increased environmental concerns. We described the rural NEETs basics required through content analysis and document analysis in this paper (Kuckartz, 2014; Riffe et al., 2014; Erdoğan et al., 2022). The Web of Science (WoS) database was used to collect related studies on rural NEET and entrepreneurship. We applied web based search including these keywords: “rural + NEET, NEET + entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship + cooperative”. We found over 150.000 articles related to the mentioned keywords. After the first examination we decided to reduce highly related according to the highest cited
articles to apply content analysis. After the content analysis we continued to categorize topics through document analysis.
According to both content and document analysis results, new training platforms were identified, using technology and social media, including environmentally friendly practices that can create opportunities to start an enterprise and increase motivation of youth in rural areas. Interactive learning programs and entrepreneurship courses can be effective for the potential young entrepreneurs with the application of good practices in rural areas. Based on identified results in this paper, we propose a “Rural Youth Cooperative” that could be a good initiative and eco-entrepreneurship model for rural youth. In addition, it is aimed to develop support mechanisms that will contribute to the employment of young people in the NEET group and to develop various proposals for the employment of these young people in existing cooperatives. Because rural areas are still importantly connected to agriculture, forestry (especially non-wood forest products), and ecotourism activities. This policy implementation can also be a pioneer for the other nature-based solutions for instance to establish a new eco-entrepreneurship ecosystem
and sustainable rural marketing strategy. Another suggestion could be enhancement of youth in the current rural cooperative and financial support by local governments to improve capacity building and co-creation for the rural NEETs.