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Building alumni programmes: follow-up

By Platform

On 13 and 15 December the Policy Learning Platform organised an online matchmaking for the Lublin Science and Technology Park (Poland). The topics that were tackled during the session were: post-incubation and post-acceleration programme support, alumni programmes, and community building.

The key learnings and additional information can be found in thmatchmaking report.

Peers from across Europe

Alongside Mart Veliste and Rene Tonnisson, our Thematic Experts for SMEs competitiveness, brilliant peers were invited and participated to the matchmaking:

  • Andraz Siler, BSC Kranj, Project Manager at Regional Development Agency of Gorenjska, OSS project partner (Slovenia)
  • Nives Justin, BSC Kranj, Project Manager at Regional Development Agency of Gorenjska and Manager of Kovačnica Coworking, OSS project partner (Slovenia)
  • Matiss Neimanis, Buildit Latvia Accelerator and Pre-Seed and Seed Investment Fund manager (Latvia)
  • Michael Tunney, Head of Enterprise and Economic Development at Donegal County Council / Local Enterprise Office Donegal, EIS project partner (Ireland)
  • Lynn Oxborrow, Associate Professor at Nottingham Business School, SCALE UP project stakeholder (UK)

Matchmaking objectives

Lublin Science and Technology Park (LPNT), a START EASY project Polish partner, sought to find best practices on entrepreneurship and start-up post-program support. So far, LPNT has built a significant track record of instruments supporting entrepreneurs and start-ups but lacks follow-up activities.

LPNT aspires to build a full- cycle one-stop-shop for future and current entrepreneurs, especially innovative ventures in Lublin Region. While the START EASY project comprehensively covers relevant topic areas to create SME support instruments for quick and easy business start-up, LPNT wished to dive deep into specific topics: post-program support, alumni programs, community building, post-acceleration.

Some key takeaways

  • Peer-learning networks are great for building communities of enterprises. A peer-learning group of Lublin ́s programmes’ alumni could potentially solve some challenges.
  • It takes effort to form trust with companies (the client base / previous beneficiaries of programmes). Phone calls still work best in creating positive engagement. The personal touch is vital for remaining visible to the companies. It is not enough to maintain a digital catalogue (...).
  • Asking for equity in an acceleration programme has its strengths and weaknesses. While start-ups would prefer the support to be free, paying for it generates more substantial commitment (e.g., pressure to prepare for meetings) and ensures more honest feedback from the companies. A better understanding of the added value can be identified with a paid programme. 

Explore all the takeaways and additional information in the matchmaking report.

Key practices identified

Interreg Europe projects and their good practices:

Other Policy Learning Platform resources:

Photo credit: bbsferrari on envato elements.