David Hope, Business Development Manager for Projects & Economic Policy from Coventry City Council is responsible for design and development of major economic development and infrastructure programmes in Coventry & Warwickshire recently shared his thoughts on the impact of his participation in the INTRA project in the region including his views on Interreg programmes.

"Opportunity to maintain and indeed enhance relationships with other regions participating in the project INTRA"

Has the INTRA project enabled more regional businesses to engage in International trade activities?

 Yes, I think it has played a factor in more businesses becoming involved in international trade activities, and it has also helped to bring international trade more into the thinking of Business Advisors and Economic Development staff who do not work for specialist international trade bodies. We as an Authority very much see supporting businesses to access international market opportunities as one of the things that all of our business support programmes will help to achieve.


Did your participation in Interreg allow for sharing experiences and learning from other policymakers from different regions?

 Yes – the final conference showed just how many commonalities there are in terms of both challenges and opportunities that are pertinent to international trade and innovation across such a diverse range of European regions. We intend to apply some of the learning points emerging from other regions to the delivery of future support schemes to our SMEs. We would also welcome the opportunity to maintain and indeed enhance relationships with other regions participating in the project, and continue to share experiences and learning points.


What do you personally like about working with transnational Interreg projects?

The opportunity to obtain a wider range of learning points on ways to potentially address our economic challenges and opportunities than solely speaking with other English regions would offer. We have a strong track record of running business support schemes but always strive for improvement, and the opportunity to network with representatives of other regions through study visits and conferences means you can actually get into detail about understanding not just what works but why it works and the mechanisms the respective regions and national agencies put in place to make it possible.

The interview was conducted by Sarah Barsby (Coventry University Enterprise Ltd., Project Partner in INTRA) 

Cover photo: Sammy-Williams by Pixabay