OpenMaker creates collaborative ecosystems fostering innovations within the European manufacturing sector for more sustainable business models and products.
The OpenMaker consortium ran an accelerator programme in four European cities (Florence, Liverpool, Bratislava and Bilbao) by establishing a ‘Local Enabling Space’ (LES) in each city. Within each LES, the Enablers are dedicated human resources with sound community management skills. Enablers deployed active methods for community building and engagement, primarily targeting traditional manufacturers and makers. The Enabling Programme ensured the successful establishment of partnerships through well-planned activities such as:
•Establishment and implementation of community building activities (i.e. workshops, match-making seminars, ..) within Local Enabling Spaces (LES) where makers, innovators and traditional manufacturing entrepreneurs are encouraged to work together locally
•Implementation of the Piloting Support Scheme, which included an Open Call for proposal, that makes €420,000 available to fund 21 projects and provide them with mentoring and in-kind support.
Accelerator spaces across Europe are the main stakeholders, implemented by collaborative spaces, as well as private innovation and research centers. Beneficiaries are mainly partnerships between Makers(and makerspaces)and Manufacturers (mainly SME).

Resources needed

€420,000 available to fund 21 projects and provide them with mentoring and in-kind support.
Around € 100,000 for each Local Enabling Space (LES) to run acceleration programmes and a local programmes of events.

Evidence of success

415.000 people
33 000 people from industry
+51 000 people representing makers/hacker spaces
333 000 people from non-specialist groups
Release of Digital Platform:
678 registered users (71 organizations and 447 individuals/persons)
509 onboarded profiles
Organisation of >80 events
Active and direct engagement of 1.098 people
Attendance at key external events to spread OpenMaker
Open Call for Proposals:
137 proposals, 310 makers, 7k potential jobs

Difficulties encountered

It is very difficult to activate a matchmaking programme between makers and manufacturers without preparatory work based on open events and P2P exchanges. The main difficulty was the implementation of a brand new platform to facilitate exchange between actors.

Potential for learning or transfer

-The potential is high. The practice already functioned in four diverse countries, is easy to replicate and benefits outweigh the resources needed.
-The involvement of the maker in the formulation of the need for innovation is an element of added value of the process.
-The Pilot Support Scheme has not only stimulated new ideas, but also the realization of dormant or not fully developed ideas.
-In many cases it is the maker company to market the solution: the SME can provide new commercial channels, means and strategic relationships. -OpenMaker increased makers’ ability to relate with manufacturing SMEs in R&D activities.
-The experience of makers across Europe together shows how collaborations between small and innovative makers and large scale manufacturers can be transformative for the European manufacturing industry.
-International players can learn and apply, because it is a win-win process whose elements are everywhere in social, economic, traditional and artistic contexts.
Main institution
LAMA Development and Cooperation Agency
Toscana, Italy (Italia)
Start Date
May 2016
End Date
November 2018


Nikola Tomic Please login to contact the author.