This is an archived version of
Appenninol’Hub | Civic Europe
Community development, (Social) Entrepreneurship


Steering communities of mountain areas towards place-based “inhabitants” enterprises.


Who is behind this?

Annalisa Spalazzi

Figli del Mondo


Who is joining forces?

Primo Miglio


Confcooperative Emilia Romagna


Appenninol’Hub is a newly created territorial network composed by 28 public and private actors between Emilia-Romagna and Marche regions with the aim of supporting rural community enterprises.


Idea pitch

Appenninol'Hub is a territorial network that enables communities in the Italian hinterland to thrive, supporting the generation of entrepreneurial ideas with transformative impact on the local economy and, as a result, contributing to reverse depopulation effect. It develops a pathway that starts from individual ambitions and responds to territorial needs, activating interconnected economies.

Where will your project idea take place?

In the villages and rural areas of the Apennines, mountain backbone of Italy.

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Villages of the Apennines are lacking basic services and are significantly distant from the main centers of services connected to education, work and health. Those villages are facing decades of constant depopulation, marginalization and de-atropinisation. The sense of community has been lost because of the low numbers of people living in the area.
The sense of community is lost in many places, do to a spread sense of disempowerment and change of living habits. Yet, those are spots to enhance communities for the need of cooperation to (re)build community infrastructure. This is from where we want to start to re-inverse such tendency.

Who are you doing it for?

Appenninol’Hub is for people and communities living, working or willing to move to Italian villages. It targets who has an intention to do it but need support to define ideas, be inspired and supported in “giving legs to projects” through search of funding (public, private, calls or investors) and transform them into businesses and services at the benefit of local community. This would act as a magnet for the others in the community to engage actively.
The Italian hinterland covers the 60% of the territory and hosts the 23% of Italian population.
Mostly we target young adults between 25-40 years old, even if is not limited to.
It targets individuals, associations, NGOs, local authorities in the rural areas or willing to move there to be both part of the pathway and beneficiaries.

How do you plan to get there?

Appenninol’hub works in all phases of hinterland inhabitants economies activation.
The process starts from the “activation”: opening up a space of informal education for the community activators through learning experiences, ideas definition and building of the relations on the territory.
Second phase is incubation, through participatory processes with the community, exploring needs/social wounds, resources of the communities, laboratories for the development of micro-projects and evaluation of ideas feasibility. This phase ends with the start of enterprises and/or projects with high social impact.
Finally, there is the social and economic development support through Acceleration with access to finance, research of funding opportunities and investors, commercial strategy and projects development at national and international level.
In order to identify the communities that will be undertaking this process, first step is to raise awareness and scout the ambition among them, showing cases of what is possible and building a network. Secondly, it will offer a 5-days residential bootcamp, first time to be held in Valmarecchia area, where the project is born. Ideally the format – strongly focused on social impact trainings for business and projects while also exploring the territory and his good practices in activating communities.

What are the expected results?

At the end of the first year project we will have:
50 people trained and inspired through the first phase
15 ideas incubated through the residential bootcamp
At least 3-5 ideas moving through the establishment of social enterprises, cooperatives and activating businesses in the target territory

As a social value:
increased welfare of the communities
creation of new jobs with local impact
increased participation of individuals to social and political life of the villages
revitalization of depressed areas

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

Creating economic & social activities able to re-activate the sense of community in the Apennines, the project will strengthen participation to the social and political activation of the villages. Many of those places are semi-abandoned and lacking basic services, mostly inhabited by elder people with no strong motivation to engage in political issues. The activation of the community, while creating opportunities for young adults to move, will strengthen their participation to social and political life.
The laboratories and informal education are aimed at supporting the community empowerment, with strong focus on youth participation and social activation.
Processes used are going to be facilitated public debates & assemblies, bringing in practical cases & experiences from similar areas.

Why is this idea important to you?

Annalisa, process designer, expert on innovation and participatory processes for social inclusion & environment.
Andrea, social innovator, networks and relationship activator, with extensive experience on entrepreneurship.
Stella, expert on international cooperation, inclusion and sustainability with huge experience in the NGO sector.
Roberto, community activator, expert in (informal and formal) education in the hinterland.
With us, a team of communty activators is growing in each territory.
We come from or/and live in the Apennines and have experience both professionally and personally on the processes of social activation in rural areas.
We are motivated by the acknowledge of the need of the activation of communities as a fundamental first step for territorial development.

€ 41000,-

Total budget

€ 33000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

For the activation phase:
15000 EUR campus including all costs to be covered for accommodation, food, content and activities so to make the campus free for participants;
21000 EUR staff for the online labs, design, speakers, tools considering 3-4 people working 12 months to follow the process + follow up mentoring with experts and mentors to help communities in looking for funding + investment in training community activators;
5000 EUR material print out and social engagement activities.

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

How have you worked on “people resistance to change”?
How are you connecting to local policy makers? Would you focus more on communities and people or in the buy-in of the mayors?
Which ideas would you have for the development of the residential bootcamp? Any good practice to consider?


Annalisa Spalazzi


Idea created on April 26, 2021
Last edit on April 26, 2021

Write comment