Mrs. Andrea Kurucz, the project manager from PBN shared her impressions received during the Leeuwraden meeting held in April 2018.

The beautiful Leeuwarden – the 2018 Cultural Capital of Europe - gave place to our 5th interregional meeting in UpGradeSME project.  

Municipality of Leeuwarden and the team of Business Development Friesland were our hosts during the 2-day learning occasion. As usual we discussed in detail the technical management topics of the project to keep all activities on track and to clear all open questions. Beneath the technical and financial management we put emphasis on the discussion about the events and offered services of the Policy Learning Platform and how this initiative can support our processes. As a next step all partners were invited to give insight into their regional activities. We learned about the results of the local communication and stakeholder events and news related the involved policy instruments. 

After the topics of the technical and financial management we continued the deep analysis of the involved policy instruments on SME internationalization. The coordinators of the actual analysis topics POLICY COMMUNICATION and POLICY INTEGRATION presented us the main results achieved so far and we also discussed the emerging questions of policy INTEGRATION topic.  

The partners then took part on the peer review of the Dutch policy instrument for SME internationalization Groen Werkt! in the interpretation of Mr. Lennard Drogendijk managing director of BDF. We learned about the close cooperation of the regional actors with the scope to strengthen the internationalisation activities of the SMEs active in sectors: Water technology, Agri-Food, Renewable Energy. Through the program several results were achieved in the last years like the growth of 20 Water companies, growth of 10 start-ups, the participation in WaterTechFest, participation in EU funded projects, cooperating and executing projects in the Innovation programme Frisian Executive Agreement Water cycle (20 innovative projects) and the facilitation of the WaterCampus.  

After the morning session we were heading to the study visit destination JAMZONE where we could learn about the story of the start-up company becoming successful and going international. The partners were also invited to test the services of the company which was a real team building activity.  

During the second day the partners had a vivid discussion about the development process the action plans. We went through the open questions and determined out internal time plan and actions to be fulfilled in the coming months.  

After the morning session the representative of the WaterCampus Mr. Hein Molenkamp joined us and presented the activities of the Water Alliance and the Water Campus and examples for innovative projects like waste water treatment, Smart Sensor Technology, solutions for smart water saving. In the presentation the close cooperation of the actors of the Innovation Ecosystem was outlined where the supportive approach of the research and education players, the companies, the regional and local government and the civil society is essential. We learned a lot from their cooperation program on water-basis with over 100 companies and international players in research and development. We saw examples for demo sites and offices for relevant companies. After the presentation we were invited to have a sort visit in the laboratories of the Campus.”