licy Learning to Unlock Skills in the TEXtile sect.. (PLUSTEX)
licy Learning to Unlock Skills in the TEXtile sector
Start date: Dec 31, 2011,
End date: Dec 30, 2014
Textile and Clothing (T&C) is one of the major manufacturing industries of the EU-27 in terms of production volumes, added value and jobs. This sector has been heavily hit by the recent crisis and has steadily lost competitiveness in the last few years. Three main strategies have been adopted by T&C SMEs to remain globally competitive:1) a cost-oriented approach - relocating production to lower labour cost countries;2) a productivity-oriented approach based on ICT to develop global sourcing networks;3) a knowledge-intensive and innovation-oriented approach pursuing market diversification towards high-quality and special textiles products.The PLUSTEX project aims to foster policies that enhance the knowledge- and innovation-oriented approach and thereby support SMEs of the T&C sector in their need for modernisation, innovation and strategic transformation to adapt to global challenges. It aims to deliver GPs to support the creation of new business models, manufacturingtechnologies and marketing strategies with a sharper focus on quality, technology, design, sustainability, and user-driven production. The approach of the project is to mobilise public authorities and stakeholders with a strong presence of the T&C sector in their territories to share their best policy solutions that can help restructuring the existing models of productivity and economic development. By collecting, analysing, exchanging and transfering successful good practices, the project will allow the partners to learn from each other and increase the effectiveness of their policies to support the entire value chain of the T&C sector. According to the partners' policy priorities, the focus of the experience exchange will be on the following six policy areas:1. support young entrepreneurship and innovative business models in the T&C sector; 2. diversify production towards high-quality, speciality and high-tech textiles and niche products;3. increase levels of art, design and creativity into market production;4. support clustering and internationalisation of T&C SMEs; 5. foster eco-innovation and social responsibility in the T&C industry;6. foster T&C incubation and start-ups. These themes will be the focus of a series of interregional exchange activities (Policy Learning Cycles) that will allow the partners to capitalise upon their most successful good practices.The project will eventually deliver Implementation Plans defining how the partners policy making levels can best integrate the policy lessons into their strategic objectives. These Plans will be formalised as Partnerships for Regional Innovation that will identify the key actors and measures that can durably capitalise upon the project's results within the local/regional policy framework. Achievements: The project has brought together partners with different expertise and know-how about the focus of the project - policies for the textile sector. The first semester of activities has delivered the methodology for the analysis of Good Practices and the first Guidelines showcasing the two most promising policy practices identified by the partners. The Lead Partner Municipality of Prato and Component 3 Coordinator Lille Metropole jointly developed the Methodology for the analysis of Good Practices which was submitted for discussion and final approval to the other partners. The methodology is a comprehensive analysis instrument that provides a sound theoretical basis to the partners, as they survey existing policy and experiences in their territories. As a part of the methodology, a Good Practice descriptive template was also developed. The template provided an agreed informative basis which was shared among the partners before the face-to-face sessions at the interregional exchange workshops. Partners could so deepen their understanding of Good Practices prior to the meetings, which resulted in a greater interest for the experience provided by the other partners. Possible ways for the transfer of Good Practices among the partners will be discussed as the project progresses. In this semester the project delivered the first Policy Learning Cycle on Supporting young entrepreneurship and innovative business models in the T&C sector. The Cycle took some three months to complete - including preparatory homework for the survey, identification, analysis and description of Good Practices, and a final joint event featuring an interregional Workshop and Study Visit which were held in Kaunas at the end of June, under coordination by the Thematic Working Group Coordinator KTU Regional Science Park. Following the event, the first Guidelines with the two most appreciated Good Practices selected by the partners were drafted. The two Good Practices selected in accordance with the evaluation criteria provided by the methodology were Maisons de Mode - providing support to young fashion brands in the area of Lille and Roubaix (France) - and SPINPARK business incubator at the University of Minho - providing support to technological entrepreneurship in different stages of corporate life via a diverse range of services in the area of Guimarães (Portugal). Their full details can be found in the guidelines. As regards communication and dissemination, Component 2 coordinator Textile Museum of Prato delivered the projects Communication Plan. The Plan describes the objectives, target groups, actions, tools, contents, products, budget, time plan and the overall communication and publicity strategy. Component 2 has also delivered a series of communication outputs, such as the first project brochure, project folder and project Newsletter which was sent to some 1400 recipients through selected mailing lists provided by the partners. An italian version of the Newsletter was disseminated by the LP and C2 Coordinator. Progress was also made in drafting and launching the project website. Its contents and graphic layout were defined, as well as the social communication strategy on e.g. Facebook and Twitter (a Facebook project page has been opened). Joint press releases were disseminated after the approval of the project and for the first dissemination event (Opening Workshop) organized in Prato at the end of March - with 50 people attending. Overall, 24 articles and web reports focusing on the project have been published in the partner territories so far.
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