Pays de la Loire Regional Council has developed 7 actions and 32 sub-actions, such as publicising European opportunities to SMEs in Pays de la Loire Region, mobilising maritime SMEs to ensure their needs are included in the next ERDF programming period and an action to facilitate access to the blue economy investment platform for stakeholders. Another action is to influence European Maritime Policy, in this regard the Regional Council has been very active with the CPMR and Finnish partners from SouthWest Finland Region, in Brussels to meet MEPs and discuss the maritime industries strategy.
FAEN’s 1st action is launching a Resolution call with Pays de la Loire Regional Council. The goal is to access the most effective innovative solutions on the market and resolve development problems with the launch of a Call for issues and a Call for solutions. The 2nd action is a Call open in Asturias, managed by IDEPA, that will define a line for marine renewable energies. The Call takes advantage of the competences in the academia sector and merges them with the needs of companies in Asturias. The next Call launch is in March/April 2021.
Over the past months, Fife Council has actively participated in the blue investment platform that allows access to finance for maritime sector SMEs. Scotland is not advanced in developing cluster organisations, so Fife Council tries to see what to develop, as the clusters would work better collectively. At the moment, Scotland has several regional clusters, and the government is making efforts to have a national maritime cluster. This platform will be an essential networking tool for British SME’s in blue growth that can't be funded through EU funds anymore.
DTLM has developed 2 actions - Innovazione di Ligguria that aims at working with Liguria Region on synergies, between research and development projects. In January, a communication campaign was launched for SMEs to enroll on the platform. In February, the Region launched a Call to fund a cluster and action to implement the platform. DLTM applied to the Call, to boost the creation of synergies, shared projects and training. The communication campaign has succeeded so far, with 350 companies registered. -Internationalisation of SMEs - cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce was launched, but the organisation of a SeaFuture event, part of this action, was postponed due to the COVID crisis. It is a shame as120 companies had applied for the event's back-to-back meetings/conferences. Finally, the SeaFuture Awards is a meeting point between graduate students and companies. The students present and share their theses and innovative projects, and 10 graduated theses have been submitted.
Turku University of Applied Sciences has developed 2 actions – The development of a regional cooperation structure: the University has a lot of active members in Turku, and it needed to help define the responsibilities of each participant. They defined the responsibilities of the structure: the Regional Council of SouthWest Finland has responsibilities, Turku sciences are responsible for companies and University collaboration is on the University applied sciences side. There is an initiative to network on a national and international level in the long run, but Turku University of Applied Sciences needs to strengthen local cooperation. Part of this action is the Maritime Accelerator Programme. In this programme, several maritime companies presented their challenges or problems and are looking for small IT companies to solve the issues. 1 programme is on-going and is taking a different format because of the situation; there will be online meetings and webinars. -Technology Campus Turku: this consists of a collaboration between university and companies; the regional technological research strategy has been drafted. In this context, the University of Turku has extended their Masters level training and opened a Master of engineering in the maritime sector.
Kiel R&D Center has developed 1 action: case studies. Those case studies present projects and outcomes with European development funds. The R&D Center of Kiel has contacted several SMEs from the Schleswig-Holstein area and submitted a questionnaire. When completed, the cases will be shared on the website.
Finally, RERA Split Dalmatia is launching a Call for a crowdfunding scheme for 3 actions: Support the development of nautical tourism, Development of offshore marine culture, Green ships. The deadline has been extended as there were few replies from SME’s in the maritime sector. The RERA organised an advertising campaign to present the scheme. They communicated the Call for Proposals via a radio station, FB pages, and specialised magazines such as Poduzetnik etc. The RERA observed participants from other sectors that were interested in the Call. The RERA will repeat the Call in September. When selected, the SME will have 6 months to gather the funds via the crowdfunding campaign and begin their project.