Factors Affecting the Development of Rural Industries Businesses; A Sustainable Development Approach (Case Study: Stone Industry in Rural Areas of Iran)

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Ph. D. Candidate, Department of Entrepreneurship, Aliabad Katoul Branch, Islamic Azad University, Aliabad Katoul, Iran

2 Assistant Professor, Department of Management, Azadshahr Faculty of Humanities, Gonbad Kavous University, Gonbad Kavous, Iran.

3 Assistant Professor, Department of management, Faculty of Humanities, Golestan University, Gorgan, Iran.

4 Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural Extension & Education, Faculty of Agricultural Management, Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Gorgan, Iran.


Purpose: In the current era, one of the main challenges facing policymakers is the sustainable development of rural areas. Rural areas' development depends more than ever on entrepreneurship because these regions have enormous capacities. Researchers consider rural entrepreneurship as the main lever for rural areas' development. Despite the existence of opportunities and potential of the stone industry, few actions have been taken to establish and run rural entrepreneurial businesses. Therefore, this study aims to identify and rank factors affecting the development of stone industry businesses in rural areas with an approach to sustainable development.
Methods: A mixed-method research involving qualitative and quantitative methods were used for this study. The library and expert interviews were used. Factors affecting the development of rural industry businesses were identified in the qualitative part. A pairwise comparison questionnaire was used to prioritize factors in the quantitative part. The survey data were collected from 26 key informants and experts and were analyzed using the analytic hierarchy process technique in the Expert Choice software.
Results: The results identified 20 factors affecting the development of rural businesses in the stone industry. These factors can be ranked into five key categories: financial factors with a weight of 0.379, ecosystem management factors with a weight of 0.263, cultural factors with a weight of 0.142, social factors with a weight of 0.112, and strategic factors with a weight of 0.104 respectively.
Conclusion: The results indicated that the sustainability of the ecosystem and village resources deserve attention for stone industry business development in rural areas with an approach to sustainable development. Accordingly, the principal recommendations are improving the entrepreneurial ecosystem and rural business environment, providing financial support for rural businesses, imposing laws related to improving entrepreneurial activity and the process of establishing a business in the stone industry, human capital enhancement, establishing business counseling offices, and investment support in rural areas.