About Us

The Future Economic Rural Network (FERN) was founded in 2019 as a non-government organisation based in Britain and Ireland, with a focus on assisting rural communities in developing alternative business practices for the 21st century. FERN operates by reaching consensus among participants and working with key stakeholders and rural organisations throughout Europe to formulate action plans.

FERN is dedicated to identifying current and future threats to rural environments, societies and businesses, and encourages policymakers and local authorities to create progressive plans that make a positive impact. As a hub for business growth and research, FERN strives to utilise technology and new ideas to secure a prosperous future for rural communities across Europe.

FERN is not a traditional membership organisation, but does charge for entry to its events. Its work is aimed at engaging with those who live in or wish to live in rural environments, and working towards improving the current situation in Britain, Ireland and across the European continent.

FERN supports UK government and EU policies aimed at increasing community participation in rural and semi-rural areas. In 2022, FERN contributed to both EU and British government papers on rural development issues including land use and economic revival.

Additionally, the group supports the implementation of rural development programmes in the UK, Switzerland, Norway and the wider EU, by sharing knowledge and facilitating information exchange and cooperation across rural and semi-rural locations on the continent.

FERN’s activities are supported by its network of entrepreneurs and government advisors, as well as its accelerator programme, which works with rural start-ups to help them succeed.


Our current objectives are to foster innovative business initiatives in rural areas and to promote research into rural social cohesion. These goals are achieved in part through:

  • Enhancing the participation of key stakeholders in rural environments;
  • Collaborating with start-ups and high-potential growth firms;
  • Building upon and improving existing literature; Fine-tuning rural development programmes to maximise their potential;
  • Establishing new media projects to discuss rural development.