SOFIA DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION was founded as non-profit organization with the decision 348
of the Sofia Municipal Council to work for the sustainable development of the capital.

Streamlining Public Support for SMEs and Innovations InnoBridge Project Final event

“Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.” The words of Henry Ford captured the essence of the interregional approach of the InnoBridge project final event, organized by Sofia Development Association on September 30, 2020, and entitled Streamlining Public Support for SMEs and Innovations. The hybrid event brought together about 100 participants – mostly online but also physically in Sofia – key players from academia, research and technology institutes, regional and local authorities, managing authorities, business organizations, SMEs, experts from 29 cities in 14 countries.

“The SME sector and innovative solutions coming from the industry are critical for a speedy recovery of the economy post-COVID-19. It is also important to ensure that the next Multiannual Financial Framework will provide access to and sufficient resources for innovations, especially in support of SMEs, for further investments and development,” stated the Mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandakova at the event opening.

An outstanding group of dynamic and leading-edge speakers offered their insights and experience in developing regional policy mixes to foster innovations and make R&D results available to SMEs. While this policy area was relevant when the InnoBridge project was launched in 2016, it matters even more now after the COVID-19 crisis affected strongly our economy and society. The panelists identified important trends, such as flexible refocusing of support measures, centers of knowledge as core of innovation ecosystems, links that allow making professional decision without professional cost. Event participants shared examples of innovative actionable solutions.

Here is the hands-on quick dive into the various topics discussed: barriers and challenges to innovations in the European regions; replicable good practices; ways to connect business and universities; how to fill the missing elements in the entrepreneurial ecosystem; how to mobilize the existing skills in the region and nurture the skills for the future; policy recommendations for the way forward.

InnoBridge is funded by the INTERREG EUROPE programme, cofunded by EU’s ERDF.

All presentations and photos of the event can be found at: www.innobridge-project.eu

  

  

Sofia Development Association invites you to take part in the final InnoBridge event: "Streamlining Public Support for SME Innovation"

Date: 30 September 2020
Venue: Online
Time: 09:30 - 12:30 CET
Language: English

Early evidence shows that the current COVID-19 pandemic has affected the SMEs and businesses around Europe. Now more than ever we need good policy responses to foster SME resilience, to help them grow stronger and more innovative after the crisis.

What are the measures implemented in different European countries and which have proven to be effective? Join the conference to discuss related issues and approaches with representatives of regions from Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain. See the full program of the InnoBridge project event here.

Political figures, practitioners, researchers, policy makers, representatives of the business community and civil society will share experience and ideas on a wide range of topics: “Cities as innovation hubs,” “Connecting Danube Region SME challenges with local goals in place-based innovation policy,” “Making a difference through partnerships,” “How to foster innovation in SMEs.” We invite you to take this opportunity and to engage in a fruitful exchange with our panelists!

The working language of the event is English. It is free and open to the public, but you must register to gain access to the meeting. If you would like to participate, please register here.

InnoBridge is funded by the INTERREG EUROPE programme, cofunded by EU’s ERDF.

InnoBridge Project Ready to Share Its Results

High regional expenditure on R&D does not necessarily lead to innovation and increased regional competitiveness if the regional economy is hampered by insufficient exploitation of its own R&D results and from a lack of access to public R&D results. Increasing SMEs’ competitiveness is at the core of the InnoBridge project by improving the related policy instruments for SMEs. This would enable SMEs to better realize their innovation potential and to act as a catalyst for creating more high qualified jobs and regional growth.

After 3 years of intensive inter-regional learning and 18 months of Action Plan implementation that applied into practice actions aiming at improving their regional R&D and innovation performance and SME’s competitiveness, InnoBridge project 9 partners from 8 regions in 8 countries spread over Europe are ready to share their hands-on experience. On April 21, 2020, they met online to plan the final project conference in Sofia on September 30 – October 1st, 2020 that would bring together political figures, practitioners, academia, policy makers, business community, intermediary organizations, civil society, and would offer a platform to share best practices, to explore and discuss opportunities for streamlining public support for SME innovation.

InnoBridge is funded by the INTERREG EUROPE programme, cofunded by EU’s ERDF.

InnoBridge First Annual Partner Meeting

The InnoBridge project first annual partner meeting took place in Bolzano, Italy, on February 18-19, 2020. Project partners from eight different European countries: the Regional Government of Lower Austria, the Universities and Higher Education Foundation of Castilla y León, the Autonomous Province of Bolzano – South Tyrol; Pannon Novum West¬Transdanubian Regional Innovation Non¬profit Ltd., Council of Tampere Region, the Regional Development Agency of Alentejo, the Marshal Office of the Malopolska Region and Sofia Development Association and Applied Research and Communications Fund had worked together since 2016 to assess and improve their regional instruments that foster better university-business knowledge transfer and utilization of R&D results for local SMEs. Through interregional learning partners had designed their 2-year Action Plans with concrete measures to make their regions more competitive through innovation and SME support.

At the first annual meeting subjected the partners presented and monitor their Action Plan implementation, the improved policies and instruments, new projects and better management structures and processes.

Sofia Development Association presented the latest Sofia municipal developments in that area: the Sofia Start-up Accelerator, the scheme in support of Sofia Smart Specialization Strategy of the Municipal SME Guarantee Fund, the programme for social innovations, the innovation competitions (hackathons) and SofiaLab as a vanue equipped and programmed as a living lab.

In September 2020 the project will have its final high-level conference in Sofia.

InnoBridge is funded by the INTERREG EUROPE programme, cofunded by EU’s ERDF.

   

InnoBridge Experience Book Released


The InnoBridge Experience Book reflects the first 3 years of the interregional learning process going through series of Peer Reviews, Capacity Building Workshops, Staff Exchanges, Study Visits and in-depth analyses. The Book gives an overview of the InnoBridge process and methodology alongside with the ultimate achievements within this
period.

Sofia Development Association is an InnoBridge project partner, and has contributed to the publication and the experience-based policy recommendations towards R&D commercialization, shaped by the strengths and challenges of each partner region, its regional perspectives and smart specialization.

The InnoBridge Experience Book is available here.

The InnoBridge project is cofunded by EU’s ERDF.

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