One of the aims of the iEER learning process is to improve the efficiency of entrepreneurial policies supporting young entrepreneurs.  On 10-12.4.2017 a group of experts from Helsinki-Uusimaa, Northern Ireland, Brandenburg, Kerry and Westpomerania visited iEER partner West Region Romania in Timisoara to exchange experiences and meet local actors supporting young entrepreneurs.

The peer review visit to West Region Romania was kicked off by Mr. Sorin Maxim, General Director of the West Region Development Agency: “West Region is the second fastest growing region in the country after the capital. West region is a region of pilots and experimentation. There is a drive from the region and its actors for innovation and changes which you will see during this visit.”

The two-day visit was organized by iEER partner West RDA and included an overview of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and the region’s business environment. It consisted of a series of pitches from entrepreneurs telling their startup stories and presentations of local initiatives, social enterprise and Innovation lab to name a few, which support entrepreneurship development in the West Region.  The peer review participants also visited a few startup hubs and services in Timisoara, including INCUBOXX, Startup Hub, Minds Hub (a collaboration of the West University of Timisoara and Polytechnic University of Timisoara) and Oncogen.

To support West Romania to develop its entrepreneurial ecosystem further, the participants and local actors were brought together in a workshop to learn from international experts.  Valto Loikkanen from Grow VC group gave a presentation on how to foster a growth driven startup ecosystem, Prof Andreas Wilms shared how University of Applied Sciences Brandenburg boosts entrepreneurial thinking and Ken Nelson, Chief Executive of LEDCOM, explained how Northern Ireland supports growth through social enterprise.

The visit ended with a peer evaluation where visiting experts gave feedback and advice to the host region on how to improve its local entrepreneurial ecosystem. “Observed from this trip and visits to INCUBOXX, Startup Hub and Minds Hub, the peer group has come to notice that startup support models which are familiar to well- developed regions are already here.  This only proves that it is possible to replicate models and services as long as the knowledge is transferred and there is drive is from the actors in the region to develop it.” concluded Christine Chang, Head of iEER-project, representing Helsinki-Uusimaa region.

She further added that “This study visit showcased us how West Region Romania and its regional agency have been able to create fruitful conditions for young entrepreneurs tackling the structural challenge through its mandate function and RIS3 strategy. Money is not the solely benefit of EU structural fund but the innovation, knowledge skills acquired through these European cooperation and projects are to help the policy makers and local actors to renewal their knowledge and skills and move forward.”

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