Mainstreaming Innovative Instruments for SME development in Europe


Catalogue of experiences from other related Interreg projects


2d version revised 18th June 2009 European Union “Co-financed by the ERDF” European Regional Development Fund                        “Made possible by the INTERREG IVC programme” This catalogue has been compiled by Mini Europe project partners. It records brief details of other Interreg projects having a relative value to Mini Europe’s aims. This work of reference is […]

2d version revised 18th June 2009

European Union “Co-financed by the ERDF”

European Regional Development Fund                        “Made possible by the INTERREG IVC programme”

This catalogue has been compiled by Mini Europe project partners. It records brief details of other Interreg projects having a relative value to Mini Europe’s aims. This work of reference is provided as another tool to increase opportunities for innovation by identifying other regions and member states sharing similar aims and facing common problems and issues which they are trying to address. Please note that the catalogue is not exhaustive. Further information can be found by accessing the various Interreg Programme Area websites.

Mini Europe partners have also produced a companion publication – “Catalogue of Good Practices”, containing models of good practices which have been compiled from the experiences of the eight European regions that make up the partnership of this Interreg IVC project.

These contributions form the basis of bi-lateral transfers of experience which the partners will undertake for the duration of the Mini Europe project and which, it is hoped, will lead to the creation of innovative instruments for the betterment of SMEs.

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This is a brochure produced by the European Commission on Enterprise and Industry. It contains contributions from 34 successful entrepreneurs from 33 different EU member states and other countries. They all provide excellent advice for new entrepreneurs in a very easy to read one page format under 5 headings:






The contributors also provide a short description of their sector of business and contact details.

The brochure can be accessed at this website and it is available in your own language.

It is an invaluable tool for any initiative which seeks to give guidance to new entrepreneurs.

Table of contents


















North WestEurope







North WestEurope



North Sea Region



ICTs for SMEs


North Sea Region





Atlantic Area







Atlantic Area


There are currently no related            Interreg IVB projects in this programme area

CLOE – Clusters Linked Over Europe

CLOE’s main aim is to create a European network of clusters. In the process, it is meeting three key objectives: learning from what has been developed by other clusters in other industries and regions; fostering the exchange of knowledge and expertise between cluster SMEs operating within the same industry; and increasing cluster visibility within the partner regions, in other European regions and in countries like China and the USA.

DISTRICT – Developing Industrial Strategies Through Innovative Clusters and Technologies

DISTRICT is based on methods tested by European regions in the framework of the ERDF regional programmes for innovative actions with a view to developing interregional networks and providing support for regions with such programmes on the theme of “regional economies based on knowledge and technological innovation”. DISTRICT aims to improve the general conditions for a transition from industry-based regional economies towards a knowledge-based development model. This objective is shared by all the partners and represents an important part of the Lisbon strategy as well as a key element of a new EU Cohesion Policy.

FinNetSME – Network for Regional SME Finance

The ability of SMEs to grow depends largely on their potential to invest in restructuring, innovation and qualification. All of these investments need capital and therefore access to finance. The necessary access to finance is, however, frequently not guaranteed since private markets are not sufficiently able to respond to the needs of SMEs, particularly in regions with a weaker economic base. Regional public authorities play a key role in this respect, bridging market gaps, establishing SME support structures and acting as catalysts to encourage the development of their regions. These policies are the focus of the operation FinNetSME which allows 20 regional partners from 9 EU countries to pool their know-how in SME finance.

LNet – The European Learning Network

The five partner cities of LNET – Amsterdam, Hamburg, London, Milan and Prague – are unlocking the commercial potential of deprived urban areas. They are achieving this by identifying the most effective ways for regional development agencies and local authorities to support innovation, social enterprise and entrepreneurship in deprived areas, focusing on business support, investment and skills and knowledge, as well as effective governance structures.

MATEO – Matching Technologies and Opportunities

MATEO deals on an inter-regional level with the problems involved in encouraging technological innovation, this being a key element for the sustainable economic development of regions and one of the main objectives of the Lisbon strategy. The infrastructure and approaches that exist on a pan-European level are often considered by local industry to be too distant. This means that organisations at the first level of innovation, such as SMEs and research centres, do not benefit fully from opportunities that arise from alliances across frontiers, and this reduces the potential for stimulating the regional economy through innovation. Such limits to the scope for taking up opportunities beyond regions create a need for the activities of MATEO, namely, the stimulation of innovation through opportunities from inter-regional cooperation.

NPD-NET – Innovation and New Product Development based on Inter-Regional Networks

The operation “NPD-NET: Innovation and new product development based on inter-regional networks” is mainly based on the experience of an earlier project funded by the Innovative Action programme (ERDF), which resulted in a Roadmap for new product development (NPD). According to the experience of the regions partnering in this project, many smaller as well as medium-sized companies (SMEs), particularly those in lagging regions, lack internal capacities for product innovation. NPD-NET aims to address this gap by creating networks and SME alliances between its partner regions, in order to help SMEs find qualified support for the different tasks defined in the Roadmap.

REGINS – REGional standardised Interfaces for a better integration of regional SMEs in the European Economy

Proactive cluster management has become one of the standard tools of regional development in innovative regions. It is important for supporting network creation, economic development in technology-oriented branches and for helping small and medium-sized companies (SME) to meet the challenges of global competition. There is, however, little information on their effectiveness in different regional environments. Moreover, network and cluster activities are mostly local or regional and little co-operation exists on an inter-regional or European level. The RFO “REGINS-Regional standardized Interfaces for a better integration of regional SMEs in the European Economy” will examine the status quo of thematic cluster management in the participating regions and implement sub-projects linking institutions from the participating regions within three thematic priorities: ‘automotive’ (including fuel cell and virtual reality as important engineering support technology), ‘logistics’ and ‘biotechnology’.

RURACT – Network of exchanges for a innovating regional policy of rural development

The network has 3 objectives: to draw up a definition of rural development strategy with regards to coming policy of cohesion, in accordance with the 2nd pillar of the CAP; to improve coherence and efficiency of sect oral public policy affecting development in rural areas; to structure and federate rural areas in Europe around large communal orientations, thus contributing to an innovative approach to rural development.


CASTLE – Cooperation Among SMEs Toward Logistic Excellence

Contact person – Rino Rosini, Institute for Transport and Logistics Foundation

The project’s overall objective is to improve local and regional policies in logistics for SMEs through the exchange of experience and the transfer of these experiences into the strategies of the participating regions. The 10 partners come from 8 European countries.

CLUSNET – Clusters & Cities Network

Contact person – Per Justesen, Greater Lyon

The objective of the project is to improve the effectiveness of cluster support policies in larger European city-regions. Through the analysis of cluster policies in large European city-regions the partnership of 12 bodies will produce policy recommendations targeting each partner city on how to strengthen their cluster support policies. The project will also facilitate the creation of links between clusters from partner’s cities in order to improve criteria of critical mass and cluster competitiveness.

CREATIVE METROPOLES – Public Policies and Instruments in Support of Creative Industries

Contact person – Diāna Čivle, Head of the Department of Culture, Riga City Council

By exchanging experience and good practices, the CREATIVE METROPOLES project aims to strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of public support to unlock and support the economic potential of the creative economy. The project will address the following policy fields: structure of public support for creative industries; business capacity and internationalisation of creative industries, space and creative city districts; funding for creative businesses; and demand for creative industry products and services.

The partnership of the project is constituted by municipalities and development agencies of 11 metropolitan cities of Europe.

EUROPROC – EU Regional Cooperation for SMEs access to Public Procurement

Contact person – Maris Orobitg, Consortium for the Trade Promotion of Catalonia (COPCA)

The overall objective of the EuroPROC project is to increase the competitiveness of EU regions and SMEs when participating in EU tendering systems. Key points will be to fill the existing gap among the different EU regions involved, contributing to the catching up process in Central and Eastern Europe. This will be done through a balanced partnership of 11 partners coming from 10 EU member states.

EVITA – Exchange, Valorisation and Transfer of regional best policy measures for SME support on IT and e-business Adoption

Contact person – Hatzakis Ilias, Greek Research and Technology Network (GRNET)

EVITA builds on a number of recognized good practices developed under different regional and interregional development programs, in order to improve the effectiveness of regional development policies in the area of the access of SMEs, to knowledge, e-business practices and the global economy, in regions with low ICT and e-business take-up. The partnership involves 10 partners from 8 EU countries.

NEEBOR – Networking for Enterprises in the Eastern External Border Regions

Contact person – Eszter Balázsy, Észak-Alföld Regional Development Agency)

The project has grown out from the Network of Eastern External Border Regions linking former non-EU countries from Central and Eastern Europe that share common challenges and seek joint solutions. The partnership of the project includes the regional authorities/bodies in 10 regions from 8 European countries and is oriented to Priority 1 of the programme – Innovation and knowledge economy. What binds the partners is the confidence that cross border business cooperation with non-European neighbouring countries, as well and better structures of access to knowledge and access to finance for SMEs in peripheral areas are the core elements of successful SME development and innovation policies. The partners will address these issues through exchange of experience in the development of key strategies for SME innovation, preparation of joint methodologies and policy recommendation aimed at deepening the relations among the external border regions and upgrading their networking capacity.


Contact person – Maria Ioannou, South West of England Regional Development Agency

This project deals with the role of the public sector in stimulating innovation in regions, in particular helping mainly small businesses bring innovative products to market more quickly. By focusing on the good practices already identified in partner regions, gathered under the various national and European development programmes, the partners aim to develop robust, workable Action plans that each Region will implement. Thirteen partners from eleven Member States will thus stimulate innovation in regions, increase economic growth and therefore contribute directly to the EU agenda for Innovation and Knowledge economy. This project will benefit from Fast Track assistance from the EC.

SEE – Sharing Experience Europe – policy innovation design

Contact person – Gisele Raulik Murphy, Design Wales – UWIC

The SEE project will share information on policies that have been successful in using design to boost innovation, entrepreneurship, sustainability or economic development. The project has a partnership of 11 organisations, which targets SMEs and their lack of resources for implementing design practice and innovation into their business.

North WestEurope


Drive for Growth – Directing Research Into Viable Enterprise for Growth.

Contact person – John Mcaleer

Drive for Growth will help SMEs to recognize the value of R&D, understand it and use it to their commercial advantage. The partners will strive to transform the cooperation between research institutions and SMEs into a partnership to foster development and production, economic growth and employment in Europe.

ELFIE – E-Learning for Female Entrepreneurs

Contact person, Professor Dr. Kosima Schmauch

The objectives of the ELFE project are to use the internet to provide training opportunities for women, who because of work and family commitments, find it hard to return to college to learn the skills needed to set up in business. The project, which brings together nine partners from the United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Belgium and Germany, builds on the success of the German KEIM initiative in developing an online course for women entrepreneurs.

NENSI – North European Network for Service Incubators

Contact person, Marnix Morsink

The Dutch-led NENSI project aims at creating a transnational NWE network of regional incubator centres to develop service support desks for young enterprises and improve accessibility to management services, in order to increase their chance of success in the long run.

STIMUTRAN-SME – Stimulating Transnational SME interaction

Contact person, John Whelan

The STIMUTRAN project aims to boost innovation and knowledge transfer between SMEs of NWE thanks to “Transnational Matching Centres” (TMCs) which will help SMEs to start their transnational business activities and help them find compatible business partners.

TESIS – Technology Supported Innovation And E-Business in the Information Society

Contact person, John Glynn

This Irish-led project, lasting two and a half years, brings together ten partners from four Member States in a project whose objective is to assist SMEs in making better use of existing technologies to stimulate economic expansion.

North WestEurope


FACILIS – Facility Sharing in Life Sciences – Promoting innovation in NWE life science SMEs by enabling easy transnational access to research facilities

Contact person, Dick de Jager

FASILIS will open up public and private research infrastructures in the field of human health (biotech, pharmaceutical and medical technology) to SMEs from other regions in NWE. The aim is to give SMEs access to a far wider range of research facilities than is currently available at a regional level, broadening the competence networks of both SMEs and research infrastructures and so contributing strongly to increasing regional innovation capacity in the field of human health.

North Sea Region


FSI – Facilitating Sustainable Innovation
Contact person, Hans van Meerendonk,

The project has been prepared as a tool to stimulate and accelerate the process of sustainable innovations. The main idea behind the project is to create an interregional co-operation on sustainable innovation between relevant stakeholders in order to foster the start-up and development of innovative companies, products and tools.

ICTs FOR SMEs – Regional Strategies and Solutions to Enhance ICT-Access and Use for SMEs

Contact person, Ulrich Müller

The project supports SMEs in the 8 participating regions to increase and improve their use of ICT. In the first module the ICT use among 100 SMEs/region will be surveyed. On the basis of this study 30-50 SMEs/region will receive an ICT audit and the proposed solutions will be implemented. The audit and its implementation will then be evaluated. This evaluation together with other important experiences gained in the project will be developed into a best practice guide.

LOG-IN – Local Government in need for e-government Instruments to realise their economic policies

Contact person, Filip Meuris

The project aims to turn local governments into stronger players in the local economy. On the one hand by improving internal processes, on the other hand by strengthening their relations with particularly local companies (government to business relations) and with other governmental levels (government to government relations). The focus will be on how to use ICT to: ˇ Improve local government processes (e-administration) ˇ Improve service development and distribution (e-services) ˇ Improve public-private interaction (e-society)

North Sea Region


CA! – Coast Alive

Contact person, Tor Titlestad

The project activities consider cultural and natural heritage, as a means to improve public health, the development of SME’s and the demographic profile of the region.

The project builds on the results of two former Interreg IIIB project; Nave Nortrail and Cycle-on, using the trails set up by these projects as a basis for activity. The project will carry out a number of transnational field studies within the partner countries, the results of which will feed into a toolkit.

The work will be supported by three universities, the UK organisations, Federation of Small Business and British Ramblers Association, the North Sea Commission and a Political forum. The project results (toolkit) will be promoted through the projects own website and also the North Sea Commission website.

ERIP- European Regions for Innovative Productivity

Contact person, Colin Heron

The project identifies an increasing pressure on EU manufacturers to be more efficient and innovative in their manufacturing processes. The cause of this pressure is identified by the project as increased production capacity in low-cost economies (LCE) and increased innovation and level of sophistication of supply chains in high-cost economies.

The main problems undermining the competitiveness of SMEs are limited knowledge of lean/agile techniques; unawareness and limited understanding of regional governments and across organisations of the potential of lean/agile; lack of good practice and knowledge transfer to SMEs; lack of resources amongst SMEs; and inadequate training.

Transnational cooperation is seen as the only way forward to address these issues appropriately, based on the view that they had not been solved adequately in the national contexts. The method applied is to use a regional model to improve manufacturing efficiency and as the initial core of IFP

IFP – Innovative Forsight Planning for Business Development

Contact person, Nina Othilie Hoiland

IFP establishes a transnational framework of cooperation to systematically tackle challenges regarding the competitiveness of regions in the NSR in the global economy. Foresight Planning is used as a method not only to link regions and selected clusters transnationally and plan for joint actions in the future, but also to find solutions tailor-made for the regions facing challenges related to the shift of the industrial base (decline, transition, and growth).

Key elements of the transnational project methodology are the assessment of the present economic situation, the pooling of experience and good practice, and the design of forward-looking strategies and concrete action plans based on applied Foresight Planning processes to build capacity for innovation. The public sector is considered a key partner to facilitate the processes of innovation, internationalisation, and creation of critical mass in the NSR.

Atlantic Area


TRIDENT – Network of Maritime SMEs Connecting the Maritime Regions of the Atlantic Area

Contact person, Robert Dow

Faced with the disaffection of the young for the traditional marine sector trades and professions in the Atlantic Area and with the reduction of economic growth and competition in the coastal areas, the application of new technologies (nanotechnologies, information technologies, ocean biotechnologies, etc.) present real opportunities for replacement and dynamisation both of the industries involved and of the SMEs in the marine sector.

The TRIDENT project is intended to accelerate this process by creating direct links between the traditional marine SMEs and the centres of Research and Development of the Atlantic Area, while extending and mobilising the existing work of scientific and technological marine research by setting up an active network and by regional and trans-national partnerships, as well as by encouraging a greater opening of access to the knowledge already available.

ATLANTIC.NET – Forum of Atlantic SMEs in the Information Society

Contact person, José María Pérez López

The ATLANTIC NET project seeks to stimulate the creation of a trans-national network to promote the full use of the potential of the advanced telecommunications services and information technologies among the SMEs of the Atlantic Area, notably new infrastructure, software packages and experiences, new e-business solutions, etc.

HERMES – Promotion of the participation of SMEs of the Atlantic Area in the structures and circuits of innovation

Contact person, José Luis Baltar Pumar

The HERMES project aims to develop actions involving SMEs, aimed at making these enterprises more competitive, with more innovation, training and information, so that they will be better-placed in the new opportunities connected with new technologies. It is a question of developing the potentials of SMEs at the level of human resources and techniques, it being a given that this class of enterprises constitutes the principal component of the industrial fabric of the Atlantic Area.

HERMES wishes to demonstrate that growth and increased competitiveness for SMEs arises from their inclusion in circuits of technological innovation and from their ability to respond to the new demands of industrial production.

QUALITY SME – Programme of aid to integrated management in the SMEs of the European Atlantic Arc

Contact person, José Antonio Viera Chacon

The QUALITY SME project is intended to detect the environmental impacts of the activities of SMEs and address these by creating services and management tools in the domains of quality, the environment and the prevention of risks at work. The project also foresees an adjustment to the policies of management of the territory, which will then be put into practice by means of joint strategies. The project will thus contribute to promoting co-operation and exchanges of experience among SMEs, and in the longer term to improving the competitiveness of the Atlantic Area.

CINCO – Centres of Innovation and Competitiveness

Contact person, Margarida Segard

To overcome the new challenges posed by national and international competition and to adapt to the new technologies and environmental imperatives, the Atlantic Area must rapidly develop a ‘common acquired understanding’ founded on its capacity for innovation and its potential for knowledge.
To this end, CINCO is intended to energise the ‘fabric of innovation’ of SMEs, which are the principal sources of employment and wealth in the European space. Thanks to the training of directors and managers in these enterprises, the project aims to develop a true culture of innovation. Furthermore, CINCO will develop and train ‘Agents of innovation’, who will carry out audits of enterprises in order to evaluate their level of innovation, and who will promote innovation by working with the economic agents involved.

Jun, 22 2009 Comments Closed | Good Practices

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