Mini-Programme for SME Innovation and Promotion of RTD
SMART+ origins from the INTERREG IIIC RFO “SMART” that initiated a network of regions striving for identification and transfer of innovative approaches of regional development in the context of economic restructuring processes and globalisation. SMART+ builds upon a joint strategy of the participating regions attaching the utmost relevance to SMEs as the key force for the transition of economy based on traditional industries towards the knowledge-based economy. This strategy and numerous analyses of the needs and threats of SMEs in this respect, identify limited capabilities of the SMEs as one of the biggest hinders affecting the full exploitation of their potential. The project strives to boost regional enterprise through the transfer of knowledge. The involved Partners have merged their efforts to analyse, transfer and disseminate their good practices for the improvement of the capabilities of the SMEs to absorb innovation and increase their competitiveness on the global market. SMART+ involves 6 regions: Aragón (ES), Małopolska (PL), Western Macedonia (GR), Saxony (DE), North-West Romania (RO) and Southeast Bulgaria (represented by NAMRB). Each partner region is represented either by the regional public authority or an authorized body having the public legitimacy of the responsible governmental bodies to implement the activities on the regional level. The involved project partners are in charge of strategic shaping of the process of the analysis and transfer of the policy mix related to the core issue addressed by the project. SMART+ will establish a mini-programme with a very high intensity of co-operation and the possibility to deepen and broaden the transfer of policy instruments in the selected key fields of interventions. To this end SMART+ anticipates to realize six subprojects of a 24 months-long lifetime (incl. a six months-long dissemination phase). The subprojects address themes as stimulating the integration of SMEs in networks and clusters and improving access to RTD and business partners, strategies and tools on converting the research potential into economic return (spin-offs, start-ups), capacity-building and development of new skills for SME staff and training of innovation/RTD management, mentoring programmes with peer management and experts. SMART+ will first and foremost enable the transfer of experience and empowerment of the public officials (via study trips, seminars and workshops) at policy level with respect to the improvement of the managerial and technical capacities of SMEs to absorb innovation. The project will identify good practices and policy instruments that could be applied in the participating regions. The strategic exchange will result in the elaboration of Smart+ Charta and Regional Implementation Plans for the regions involved and national and EU authorities with respect to the mainstream programmes.