Using the Local Peculiarities of Old Võromaa
Old Võromaa is a region of heritage culture that has managed to preserve its specific character and identity, several peculiar ancient traditions are still alive here and the Võro language is spoken in the region. The region forms a whole by its heritage culture, but the development potential of its culture and nature have until now been little used as a development advantage.
In summer 2013, the research and development institution Võru Institute (Võru Instituut) studied the use of cultural heritage and nature resources in the activities of the entrepreneurs of the region. The research was qualitative, experienced entrepreneurs active in different heritage sectors were represented in the cross-sectional sample of the region.
The companies of Old Võromaa that were studied greatly use the possibilities offered by the local cultural heritage in their work, making use of different possibilities at the same time – traditional handicraft skills, ancient traditions, the Võro language and local stories, local raw materials.
Half of the enterprises participating in the research used paid labour (in median average, they employ five people); jobs are given also to family members. This sector has potential for increasing employment; according to the estimation of those who replied, there was enough room on the market for extension and new comers, there was little competition, and the operators in the same field are in their own opinion more like cooperation partners than competitors. The entrepreneurs thought that the potential for extending their activities is high. Two thirds of those who participated in the research wish to extend their activities, bring new products and services to the market by using also the possibilities of the peculiarities of the region.
The problems in implementing the resources of local peculiarities were the legislative restrictions and obstacles, but also the small reputation management of Võromaa cultural space, and the small support to common marketing and product development.
The research is connected with the preparations for the regional support programme (Uma programm) planned for the benefit of the development of the region at the initiative of the local governments of Old Võromaa.