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Lead Partner: University of Eastern Finland
The ECoC-SME project recognizes the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) Programme as a yet under-utilised opportunity for cities and regions to develop existing and prospective local small- and medium enterprises (SMEs) via their early engagement in the event. The project focusses on the mega-event's potentials to trigger, strengthen and diversify local entrepreneurship by encouraging their creative, 'unconventionally' cross-sectoral cooperations, clustering and networking, as well as their internationalisation.In the project, via an iterative process of interregional and local-participatory learning and co-creation, the Partners explore and share approaches and practices to invigorate their local-regional SME sectors and align them with the special contexts (phases, scope, themes) of the mega-event in their regions. Exchanges between 'past/present' and 'prospective' ECoCs -- Leeuwarden, Matera, and Rijeka, Timisoara, Kaunas -- under the coordination of an expert team at the University of Eastern Finland, and twenty ‘Local Learning Labs’ result in new practices and projects tailored to the five territorial contexts and their local/regional policy instruments: the (Regional) Operational Programmes of North Netherlands, of Basilicata Region in Italy, of the West Region of Romania, and the local development strategies of the Municipalities of Rijeka (Croatia) and Kaunas (Lithuania). Action Plans will be drafted to enrich these instruments and selected measures will be implemented in these cities and regions during the third year of the project. There is growing interest both from the part of the EU Commission and the participating cities in achieving an efficient use of local and EU resources and maximizing benefits from the ECoC. However, there are no concrete guidelines offered to ECoC hosts for the engagement and encouragement of local SMEs. Therefore, experiences will be shared also with the ECoC Programme to improve its guidelines for applicant cities. (Header picture: photo by Pierre Blaché, from Pexels.)
Lead Partner: ANATOLIKI S.A. Organisation for Local Development
Circular economy is a new approach of economic development models. It provides the potential to use one’s waste as resource input to others productive chain thus offering a longer life cycle of the products and a more environmentally friendly business approach. This regenerative system is of high priority in the EU. SinCE-AFC is being developed along with the on-going EU action plan for Circular Economy and the respective National Circular Economy Action Plans across the EU countries. Although the principles of circular economy are already applied by many large industries, SMEs, which represent the 99% of the businesses sector, still remain uninvolved due to lack of motivation and support. Thus, the regional SMEs policies improvement towards a more regenerative economy is of high importance. SinCE-AFC aims at involving SMEs of the Agri-Food chain in circular economy through the promotion of the appropriate managing and financial horizontal mechanisms. All the Agri-Food agents committed to production, processing, packaging, distribution and final consumption are expected to operate in a coordinated way to better adapt to circular economy. This objective will be achieved via the intense collaboration and interregional exchange of experience of 9 partners representing 7 Regions from 7 EU countries. The partnership’s tasks will focus on the investigation of efficient practices, via interregional thematic learning events, study visits, import workshops, stakeholders’ meetings and consultation processes, of how the relevant policy instruments can be improved in order to assist SMEs to enter circular economy. The core results will be depicted in a joint study reflecting the related regulatory framework and good practices at regional and EU level. The project will promote innovation, derive knowledge and develop close collaboration with the Interreg Europe Learning Platform as well as with the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform and the RIS3 Platform Group.
Lead Partner: Ministry of Development and Investments
Statistics reveal that succession of business ownership between generations can be a life -or-death situation for many companies in Europe: only 30% of family-owned businesses  survive the transition to a second generation while only 10% of them can overcome the  transition to a third generation.  Success Road will address this challenge by helping manufacturing companies of the  textile, clothing and footwear sectors prepare and manage their succession, both in the  context of family successions and when selling to third parties.  The project overall objective is to help project national and regional authorities implement  policies and new succession measures in their operational programmes so that SMEs  can better face the succession phase and secure their future after a change of  ownership. Working to strengthen the overall sustainability and long-term viability of European SMEs will further contribute to the growth of the economy by preserving jobs and  boosting economic growth. Objectives • To analyse the gaps between the current and the desired state of successions and  transfers of companies and examine the parameters and obstacles at play.  • To sensitise regional and local policymakers and civil servants about the problems  and risks of the succession process in order to foster the creation of tools to help business owners withstand the succession process.  • To shape a business-friendly legal and institutional ecosystem by creating incentives  and removing barriers to entrepreuneurship. 
Lead Partner: Pannon European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation
INTER VENTURES promotes the internationalization of SMEs in EU border regions, thus contributing to their growth and increased competitiveness. INTER VENTURES brings together partners from five European border regions, representing various stages of evolution of SME ecosystems, from occasional cross-border cooperation through more structured networking to international clusterization. During the project implementation Partners will intensely share their experiences and learn jointly via Thematic Study Visits, Interregional Meetings combining training with discussions. Regional stakeholders will be intensively involved in the process through RSG Meetings and Webinars including training, brainstorm sessions and assisted workshops.   Lessons learnt will be adapted to regional conditions explored through targeted surveys of regional SMEs. As a result, tailor-made regional Action Plans will be elaborated that can lead to the desired improvement of the five selected regional ERDF programmes for the enhanced internationalisation of SMEs.
“Plug in labs Ouest” is a webservice presenting scientific and technological skills of all research units in Bretagne.
Location: Bretagne, France
Project: INKREASE
A succesfull experience of cooperation among public an private actors for the management of a protected areas
Location: Molise, Italy (Italia)
Project: IMPACT