Factors affecting digital entrepreneurship with the approach of sustainable rural development in rural areas of Iran

Document Type : Research Paper


1 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 Department of Management, Aliabad Katoul Branch, Islamic Azad University, Aliabad Katoul, Iran.


Purpose: Many countries see digital entrepreneurship as central to economic growth, job creation and innovation. Digital entrepreneurship is one of the new opportunities to create new investments and transform existing businesses by developing new digital technologies. Due to being environmental-friendly, this emerging phenomenon provides social and cultural participation of different members of society and is a suitable means for the sustainable development of rural areas. Therefore, this research aims to identify and prioritize effective factors in exploiting digital entrepreneurship opportunities in rural areas with a sustainable development approach.
Methods: This research was based on exploratory mixed methodology, including qualitative and quantitative. In the first part, conducting interviews with 17 researchers of rural development, rural planning and digital entrepreneurship, we identified the factors affecting the exploitation of digital entrepreneurship opportunities in rural areas with a sustainable development approach. In the next part, the study used hierarchical analysis and paired comparison questionnaires from 108 experts and business owners in information technology in rural areas.
Results: The findings led to the identification of 8 main factors and 14 sub-factors. Among the main essential factors are telecommunication technology in rural areas, knowledge management of rural entrepreneurs, sustainability of rural businesses, and cultural-behavioral context. Also, sub-factors include training and empowerment, marketing strategy, entrepreneurial alertness, infrastructure and facilities in rural areas, staff skills and systemic thinking.
Conclusion: The research results indicate that to benefit digital entrepreneurship opportunities in rural areas, we need macro and inter-sectoral thinking so that comprehensively and systematically, all economic, social and cultural factors alongside technical and technological infrastructures and the characteristics of the entrepreneur can develop. Suggestions are presented at the end of the paper to improve using digital entrepreneurship opportunities in rural areas.


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