FFI connects companies, knowledge, funding and competencies; its main focus is on open radical innovation & development of qualitative differentiated products.
Most SMEs in Central Denmark Region (CDR) were operating on a traditional supply-driven platform with the main focus on volume & price, concluding that SMEs needed support to innovate their business by increasing value to their products & services, & thereby grow their competitiveness.
Future Food Innovation (FFI) was established in 2010 as a broad consortium of existing knowledge institutions – built on the philosophy that we regionally, as well as nationally, already had a large number of knowledge actors like science parks, universities, bridge builders, technological institutions, consultants etc. - & didn't need more actors, but rather closer collaboration between them. There was a need to create easier access for the companies to relevant knowledge institutions & actors, in order to obtain more innovative & growth based companies within the food sector.
FFI consortium is strong and skilled with a broad range of professional competencies within the field of innovation & food & it has strong connections to the business community in general within the food sector in order to attract the right companies with the right potential. FFI takes benefit from the capacity of knowledge partners, in addition, FFI has employed an innovation manager, who is independent from the different partners in the consortium. Besides guidance about & funding from FFIs’ own funds, the FFI team guides companies to other relevant possibilities & funding in the Danish business development system.
The project is financed by CDR, The European Regional Fund & participating companies. The overall budget for FFI 2016-18:
CDR Development Funds: 2,8 mil. €
EU Regional Fund: 4,0 mil. €
Companies co-financing: 4,3 mil. €
Knowledge institutions co-financing: 0,5 mil. €
Total: 11,6 mil. €
Evidence of success
Quote from a 2015 evaluation: "Feedback of participating companies/SMEs is that FFI activities are of high quality and add value to their businesses. FFI has an on-going dialogue with the companies about their need for development and their challenges, enabling FFI to focus its activities on individual business needs." Results achieved: the 35 participating companies have created 230 new jobs by January 1.st. 2016; further they have attracted additional funds and investments exceeding 20 mio. €.
FFI has the role of facilitating the overall process and projects, they have the responsibility of intervention if problems, challenges or unforeseen matters occur during the projects funded by FFI. This includes a strong focus from FFI on matching of expectations before and during the project.
Potential for learning or transfer
FFI is well documented and the activities could – with the right set-up regarding consortium and team – be used and implemented by other regions /organizations. It is important though to state that there is no manual for the work done by FFI – as the initiative is based on an individual approach to each company within the frame of activities approved within the European Regional Fund that co-finances the initiative.
The skills and competencies of the operating organisation are very important success criteria for this initiative. In 2015 we have initiated research about the facilitating role of FFI. This confirms the hypothesis we had prior to launching the initiative; that the organizational and personal facilitating competencies of the team meeting the companies are crucial. We continue to observe this facilitating role of FFI in the coming period 2016-18, in order to learn more about the dynamics and the impact this might have on the participating companies.
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