A growth network and multidisciplinary support for micro-enterprises
Actions to promote the growth and internationalisation are mainly targeted at larger enterprises. The main objective of the Lapland micro-enterprises growth network project is to develop the operational environment of micro-sized enterprises to complement and support the existing regional business services. The practice is based on the work of MicroENTRE Growth Network concept by MicroENTRE, Microentrepreneurship Center of Excellence at the University of Oulu.
The practice-based and micro-enterprise led activities include especially sales and export experimentations to reduce barriers to growth. The core of the model is monthly based meetings hosted by enterprises on themes chosen by enterprises with support by experts to help in sharing and finding new knowledge and solutions especially on digital applications. Micro-enterprises direct also the RDI activities ensuring the benefit for their need. Under the project more flexible and agile ways to utilise the RDI infrastructure to produce rapid experimentations. In collaboration with regional educational institutes the students may support in producing demos and opening recruit possibilities at the same time while strengthening the collaboration between enterprises and educational institutes. During the project, the model is to be implemented in two subregions with the help of local development companies. There is also plans already to scale-up the operation to cover the whole region.
Total cost of € 500 096 with € 350 068 of public support.
Evidence of success
The model has proven to be effective spreading to a national network with five regions and 300 micro-enterprises. The concept has been well received in Lapland and the network being established with the initial goal of 60 enterprises being exceeded in the early phase. The network has led into practical multidisciplinary collaboration between companies e.g. in form of mutual support and sales, co-marketing and co-projects. Creative and ICT companies have been in key roles in the collaboration.
Micro-sized companies having very limited resources for any extra development activities so the active participation in collaboration has been found (as expected) challenging for many.
Potential for learning or transfer
The sharing of good practices and knowledge thorough the project has supported separate companies from different fields yet with similar needs to learn together and find practical collaboration possibilities. The practical approach with various different actors has supported collaboration among companies and between educational and RDI institutes. The physical visits to various other companies has been found to be a key factor in establishing the network and collaboration. Many of the companies involved have been from CCI involving also ICT. This link could be further emphasised with the aim on creative digital solutions.
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