ResearchResearch projects
Entrepreneurship in ländlichen Räumen: Umfang, Bestimmungsgründe und regionalökonomische Effekte (EntreLR)

Entrepreneurship in rural areas: scope, determinants and regional economic effects (EntreLR)

Led by:  Prof. Dr. Rolf Sternberg
Team:  Lennard Stolz; Niels Wendt
Year:  2021
Funding:  Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture
Duration:  2021 - 2024

Entrepreneurship describes activities involved in founding or establishing and managing a new company. As such, entrepreneurship can positively influence the development of industries as well as regions and national economies. Theoretical and empirical findings of start-up research suggest that entrepreneurship differs significantly between rural and non-rural regions with regard to its conditions of emergence and development as well as its regional economic effects. However, these differences have not yet been adequately studied.

This research project closes this gap and aims at achieving the following objectives: First, a description and explanation of entrepreneurship in rural and non-rural areas in Germany will be provided. Second, typical patterns and mechanisms are to be identified, by which entrepreneurship in rural and non-rural areas can be distinguished from each other. For this purpose, determinants of the emergence, growth and effects of entrepreneurship will be identified in a theory-based manner and empirically tested for Germany with the help of several large data sets.

The research project approved by the BMEL is integrated into a larger joint project in which the ZEW Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research (Mannheim, Georg Licht, Moritz Lubczyk and Johannes Bersch) and the Thünen Institute for Rural Areas (Braunschweig, Christian Hundt and Christian Bergholz) are also involved.

For the first time, the project combines the following data sets, which have a significant influence on startup research in Germany: The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), the IAB/ZEW Startup Panel, the Mannheim Enterprise Panel (MUP),  the Mannheim Innovation Panel (MIP) and the Startupdetector.



  • Sternberg, R.; Hundt, C. (2023): Entrepreneurship in räumlicher Perspektive. In: Suwala, L. (Hg.): Schlüsselbegriffe der Wirtschaftsgeographie. Stuttgart: Eugen Ulmer Verlag (=utb 5391), 129-144. DOI: 10.36198/9783838553917
  • Sternberg, R. (2022): Entrepreneurship and Geography. Annals of Regional Science 69, 559-584. DOI: 10.1007/s00168-021-01091-w
  • Sternberg, R. (2022): Entrepreneurship and proximity. In: Torré, A. and Gallaud, D. (Eds.): Handbook on Proximity Relations. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp. 326–346.

Presentations to Scientific Audiences

  • Sternberg, R.: Entrepreneurial eco-systemsstrengths and weaknesses from a research perspective. Contribution to the Roundtable Discussion on “Entrepreneurial Ecosystems”. 61st ERSA Conference. Pécs (Ungarn), 25.8.2022.
  • Stolz, L.; Sternberg, R.; Hundt, C.; Prashar, N.: Not only an "urban event": on the determinants of rural entrepreneurship in Germany and the UK. 61st ERSA Conference. Pécs (Ungarn), 25.8.2022.
  • Sternberg, R.; Bergholz, C.; Bersch, J.; Füner, L.;  Lubczyk, M.: Does access to digital infrastructure lead to a shift of digital new firms in favor of rural regions? 61st ERSA Conference. Pécs (Ungarn), 25.8.2022.
  • Stolz L.; Sternberg, R.; Hundt, C.; Prashar, M.: Not only an "urban event": on the determinants of rural entrepreneurship in Germany and the UK. 61st ersa congress (2022). Pécs, Hungary, 22.08.-26.08.2022.