Reality show tackles Spain’s rural depopulation problem with search for entrepreneurs

A NEW reality TV show is launching this October with an aim to tackle depopulation in some of Spain’s most rural villages.

The 20-episode show, called RuralMind, will feature 40 contestants competing to launch and develop a business idea.

However, the village they are launching in must not contain any more than 5,000 people.

“The goal is to radically shift how people view rural life,” said Patricia Garcia Gomez, the co-creator of the show, as reported by the Guardian.

“We see villages as a place for rural tourism or agriculture, but we never see them for what they are in the 21st century – a place where you can launch and develop any kind of startup.”

The contestants will be sent to three different locations in northern and central Spain, where they will spend time developing their business plans with the help of mentors.

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Rural buildings in Torla-Ordesa, Spain (Credit: Marco Pisani: Unsplash)

The 40-strong field will be whittled down to three winners, who will each be given €3,000 in seed money.

“There are thousands of new businesses that can be launched from small villages that didn’t exist 50 years ago,” Garcia Gomez said.

“And that’s what we want to convey.”

Small villages are having to work hard to keep themselves on the map. 

The small town of Ascaso, in Huesca (also home to the smallest film festival in the world) has just seven registered inhabitants and only this year has it been granted access to electricity, which it hopes will be completed by the end of 2021. 

Meanwhile in Teruel province, town authorities in Griegos are offering a free house and job to families who move there in a bid to repopulated the town and prevent closure of the school.

This is more than just a TV show for Garcia Gomez. 12 years ago, she moved to Villarrin de Campos, in north-west Spain, with a population of just 525 residents. 

During the six years spent there, renovating her great-grandparent’s home, the population only got smaller.

Today, there are just 390 people.

Winners of the reality show won’t be obliged to stay in the villages but producers hopes it will give people another ‘perspective on rural living’.

Viewers can watch the show on YouTube and Twitch, from October.


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