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Press Release #1: SMEOrigin project launched

By Project SMEOrigin


Press release

SMEOrigin project launched to empower

GI food products across Europe and

boost SMEs competitiveness


August 17, 2023


The SMEOrigin project, a pioneering initiative aimed at supporting agri-food products with geographical indications (GI) across Europe, has successfully completed its first semester with remarkable achievements. Seven partnering regions from Austria, Bulgaria, Poland, Greece, Spain, Finland and France launched a large-scale research and policy learning process with the overall objective to improve regional development policies and funding programmes for increasing the competitiveness of SMEs in the food sector, particularly through fostering GI products. The project is co-financed by Interreg Europe programme. []

During the first 6 months of the project (1.3. – 31.8.2023) the SMEOrigin consortium reached significant milestones.

The first live kick-off meeting brought partners together in Murcia, Spain, to present their regions and exchange good practices. A key highlight of the meeting was the study visit to the Calasparra rice fields and Calasparra Virgen de la Fuensanta Rice Cooperative, where the famous Rice of Calasparra PDO is produced. The partners witnessed a number of good practices, including the unique and sustainable water management techniques and digital technologies in the rice production and packaging. Another important source of know-how and creativity was the participation in the Murcia Food Brokerage Event, where the latest technologies and innovations in the agri-food sector were presented.

Throughout the inaugural semester, partners held their first stakeholder meetings and local communities were introduced to the project's mission and potential. These meetings served as a platform to explore local challenges and opportunities while analyzing existing Geographical Indication (GI) products, stimulating discussions on new registrations, and encouraging the establishment of dynamic business networks.

The project has already begun to lay the groundwork for cross-regional cooperation between SMEs, bridging together diverse sectors such as tourism and agriculture.

Simultaneously, an intensive interregional learning and exchange of experience started. The partners compiled the first Analysis of the status-quo, which will pave the way for the creation of a strategic toolkit for policy improvements.

The SMEOrigin project continues to build momentum, positioning itself as a beacon of innovation and revitalization for the agri-food industry in the post-Covid 19 context.


About SMEOrigin Project:

SMEOrigin aims to improve regional development policies and funding programmes to increase the competitiveness of agri-food SMEs specialised in geographical indication (GI) products in the involved regions. The project will focus on strengthening their value chain, supporting and promoting their digital transformation, reviewing and improving product labelling, while considering sustainable development. Through improved policies, these SMEs will be more able to enhance the reputation of their goods, build consumer confidence, communicate their commitment to social responsibility, and support regional economic development.

The consortium:

Steirische Wirtschaftsförderungsges.m.b.H. (AT)

Stara Zagora Regional Economic Development Agency (BG)

Opolskie Centre for Economy Development/ Opolskie Voivodeship (PL)

Savonlinna Development Services (FI)

University of Patras (EL)

Municipality of Calasparra (ES)

INTERBIO Aquitaine/ Limousin/ Poitou-Charentes (FR)


For news and updates, follow the official website and social media accounts of SMEOrigin:


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SMEOrigin

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smeorigin/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/smeorigin/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SMEOrigin


For media inquiries and further information, please contact:

Maria Andreeva, SMEOrigin Communication Manager

[email protected]

Phone: +359 876001840