Miro Kristan, Soča Valley Development Centre

Is there something special about BRIDGES? How would you describe it?

What makes BRIDGES project special,  is that it is trying to make an impact and a change in the regional policy from the point of view of the real needs.  It does not take things as given but  is searching for improvements and trying to integrate these improvements.  In the end it aims at improving the policy instrument, the funding mechanism according to the needs identified and with the good practices adopted.

Has the interregional cooperation been useful? Has is fulfilled  its tasks?

A very important and useful aspect of Interreg Europe projects in this programming period is two-phase approach. In the first phase you are able to change something and in the second phase you test it and you monitor it. It makes the programme different and better than it was before.
Working with other regions and countries brings a real added value. We could do our homework alone back at home, if we decide to share challenges and cooperate. It mean that we have to step outside of the box to open the horizon. This is something what makes us more efficient and in the end helps find solution for all of us.

What has BRIDGES project brought to your region? What couldn’t have happened without the project?

At the beginning the true challenge was to make the smart specialisations understandable, especially for SMEs. It is a strategic document and in the end it is implemented via SMEs. Through linking the funding with the needs of SMEs we were able to address the smart specialisation strategy. This way we reached the point when we have the group of potential partners and we are able to apply for funding. We are ambitious saying that in the second phase we will implement the improvements and changes what we managed to achieve in the first phase. In the end it is about implementation and the results of the companies will say whereas we were successful. But we are positive about it.