About this good practice
SMEs can have difficulty understanding the technical and bureaucratic language of Calls for Proposals, and often potential beneficiaries must use business consultants to help them apply for funding. That was particularly evident during the lock-down period when it was impossible for the Umbria Regional Service staff to organize in-person meetings to provide support to those applying for grants.
In 2020, the Region decided to produce a video tutorial offering a straightforward description of a call for proposals targeted to creative industries, explaining the funding opportunities available and how to correctly fill out applications to access the resources. The language used is simple, colloquial, not bureaucratic.
Several versions of the video were produced: one without audio (3 minutes), to assist potential beneficiaries at each stage of the presentation; a shorter “promo” version (45 seconds) for sharing in social channels; then a version with audio (for the blind) of about 6 minutes was added.
The videos were uploaded to the distribution channels, in social media and the Region organized a meeting to present the video and the call for proposal.
During the application period, the Regional Service also engaged in an open manner with citizens and businesses, implementing a type of two-way communication, attentive to participation and consensus and no longer limited to just “information”.
The Region self-produced the videos using software it already had (Adobe Photoshop, Keynote and iMovie) so the only direct costs were for personnel.
Evidence of success
During a webinar on the call for proposals, a survey was conducted to gather participants' opinions regarding the video. 83% of the attendees stated that they had watched the video broadcast on the ERDF ROP YouTube channel, and 73% of participants rated the video positively.
Potential for learning or transfer
The Umbria Region has used the same tool for other calls for proposals, e.g. Open Umbria - Call for Support for Receptive Enterprises, in May 2021 following the same method as the Call for Support for Cultural and Creative Enterprises.
No formal transfer has been made so far, but the Umbria Region adopted the methodology and the video tutorial format for 2 additional calls to enterprises.
At the national level the tool has been actively shared with the Structural Funds Communicators Network, both through a WhatsApp chat of communicators and through social media; the video had been shared with the Inform Network and published in the Agency for Territorial Cooperation website.
Potentially, the use of images/videos to support SMEs and communities in general in approaching public institutions can be easily transferred to other regions, and even updated to include more sophisticated tools, including AI.