International Conference on Economic and Social Studies (ICESoS)
The purpose of International Conference on Economic and Social Studies (ICESoS) is to bring economy and other social science researchers together to discuss issues related to regional economic development particularly in the context of Western Balkan countries. Regional economic development can be considered as “a process of industry support, infrastructure, labor force and market development as well as a product of economic development that covers measured jobs, wealth, investment, standard of living and working conditions.” (Stimson, Stough and Roberts, 2006, p. 4).
The conference serves as a platform for researchers and graduate students who conduct research related to the topics of conference tracks where these researchers meet to discuss contributions of their research studies to the development of sectors in the Balkan region. Every year, conference organizers decide on a main conference topic based on their discussions with industry professionals, government officials and non-profit sector representatives to bring central discussions of the conference around the identified topic during the conference sessions. Those research studies that are directly related to the conference theme are given extra chance to be evaluated for publicaiton opportunities in the scientific journals.
This year’s conference handles an important aspect of regional economic development for the Balkan region. The central topic of the ICESoS 2017 discussions will be “rural business development in the Balkan region”. Researchers are encouraged to delve into to the research topics that are related to the conference theme for this year’s conference.
Rural Business Development in the Balkan Region
The image of “rural” in business terms has changed significantly over the past few decades. Rural areas, the same as urban, have been constantly affected by industrialization, technological progress and global trade. Today, rural areas have more opportunities for development. For those rural areas which can benefit from their strengths, the future looks brighter than it has been in recent decades. There exist strong linkage and interdependency between enterprises in cities and countryside, especially with respect to supply and demand relationship. The revival in demand for locally produced goods and services, along with the development of information technologies has allowed businesses to operate effectively in remote locations. Educated entrepreneurs, good marketing strategies, branding, collaboration with other small businesses, relationship with consumers are all prerequisites for success of any business, including those in rural regions. Progress based on such prerequisites leads to the creation of sustainable rural employment, attracting more professionals and decreasing outmigration from the countryside.
Nevertheless, we can still see the remains of traditional rural economy which include agrarian countryside and land-based industries, scarcity of population as an obstacle for entrepreneurship, segmentation of rural labour markets, out-migration, poverty and dependency on policy support. This can be specifically related to the countries that recently went to transition period or are still in the process, like the countries of the Balkan region.
Those facts create a need for the academic and scientific communities to concentrate more on the issues and problems faced by rural populations and businesses. This conference is a modest attempt to gather researchers and professionals in discussion about economic situation of rural areas especially compared with the urban areas, challenges rural businesses are facing emphasising on good practises and government policies contributing to rural development.