The majority of rural SMEs are faced with challenges such as adaptability, digitalization, connectivity, and sustainability. To remain sustainable, they need to adapt and diversify, develop in climate-smart ways, be digitally ready, and implement environmental and sustainability measures. PEAK entrepreneurs are inherently resilient and innovative providing fresh approaches but they also have to overcome certain challenges. They live and breathe environmental sustainability, cope with challenges such as remoteness, poor services, and infrastructures. They need the necessary supports so they can focus on innovative development, being digitally accessible, resourceful, and collaborative. This report assists how they can maximize their potential and realize the available opportunities and vitality of upland communities, sustainable economies and pristine environments that are uniquely available to them.
PEAK enterprises are also a potential option for rural and mountain SMEs to continue to build on and rebuild post-COVID indigenous sectors to ensure the long term sustainability of the Irish economic model. With SMEs being put at the top and centre of the effort to re-boot the economy over the coming years they will need to become even more central to policy making and development strategies.
Throughout this report, a series of measures and priority investments were identified to cover the future potential and sustainability of SMEs combating the challenges they face such as enterprise funding and supports, fiscal grants, digital investment, environmental and climate-smart initiatives, remote business and working support hubs…and more. It goes without saying for the successful development of PEAK enterprises and regions they will need a strong, consistent regional approach to nurture, support and grow them into the future.
Examples of Irish PEAK Enterprises
Building Resilience Through the Outdoors and Mountain Expeditions
Karol Devaney farms at the foot of the Benbulben Mountain, County Sligo. His entrepreneurial endeavours is an inspiring story to ‘think outside the box’ and embrace innovative diversification practices. He set up the Eweknit brand farmers in 2018. ‘I create content for farmers in the form of a regular podcast as well as supplying gear and clothing for members of the farming community too. I intend to support worthy causes with Eweknit. The podcast is also a great way to network with and learn from smart people. I believe that efforts to make the agri-food sector more sustainable and viable by 2040 will be a big challenge, and will require some tough decisions and tremendous foresight from our policy makers..’ (Natural Rural Network)