Qualification, Innovation, Cooperation and Keybusi.. (BSR QUICK)
Qualification, Innovation, Cooperation and Keybusiness for Small and Medium Enterprises in the Baltic Sea Region
Start date: Nov 30, 2009,
End date: Dec 15, 2012
SMEs represent 99% of all enterprises in BSR and provide up to 70% of all jobs, being an important economic but also socio-cultural factor. SMEs present the biggest potential for job creation also in future. QUICK aims at unleashing this potential to its full extent by addressing the following challenges undermining the competitiveness of the BSR SMEs:- limited benefit from innovation processes and R&D solutions- low qualification of entrepreneurs and employees, and the labour force in general- limited internationalisation of SMEs and difficulties in accessing new markets- lack of strategic support for SME development in the framework of regional and national policies.QUICK offers structured and coordinated approach to increase the innovation potential of SMEs in 45 regions in 10 BSR countries. Cluster based cooperation is used to facilitate development and implementation of R&D solutions in SMEs, as well as to upgrade the existing vocational and academic training programmes. The partnership is represented by SME promoters, universities and decision makers, as their cooperation is necessary to develop comprehensive SME support strategies and put them into action on all level. Transnational approach is a prerequisite for international innovation transfer and strengthening of international cooperation between SMEs, universities and chambers. QUICK works with 40 partners from 10 BSR countries and cooperate with associated partners from local, regional, national and EU level and also from Russia.The particular outcomes of the project:a) Establishment of the permanent network of the BSR universities dealing with innovation and R&D, the Baltic Sea Academyb) Establishing structured cooperation between SMEs, the network of SME promoters, the network of universities as R&D service providers and the public administration to promote development and implementation of new product/service, technology, process and organization related solutions in SMEs.c) Joint identification and development of 3 innovation clusters: Energy, climate and envionmental protection, Construction technologies, Organisational and personal developmentand promote innovation in SMEs primarily in these three clusters.d) Qualification upgrade of entrepreneurs and employees by developing and implementing new and transfer of existing training courses and promoting dual bachelor degree programs.e) Improvement of services provided by the SME promoters by establishing web based networking platforms, ICT tools, implementation of international business forums and international cooperation events, conducting Train the Trainer Seminars, developing manuals and books for innovation funding.f) Improvement of the overall SME related policy framework by developing and implementing BSR strategies for 3 policy areas: economy, education and regional development. Achievements: The core of the project is the Baltic Sea Academy (BSA) which carry out technology transfer and R&D works for SMEs. The foundation took place very early with 15 universities from 9 BSR countries. The universities shared the tasks in the following way: Single universities take certain topics from the three innovation clusters and safeguard the promotion of innovations for these topics in the whole Baltic Sea region. The innovation promotion is realised in close cooperation between the universities working in BSA and 47 chambers as central SME supporters. By this means the SMEs can be reached on a broad basis and get all innovation promotions from one hand. An intensive cooperation with SMEs is realized: Innovation transfer and information exchange runs by personal counseling, business forums, newsletters, internet platforms and electronic tools. Universities and chambers develop business and investment plans for implementation of innovations and implement R&D works for 686 SMEs.The second important concern of the SMEs innovation support in QUICK regards the development of cross-border cooperation between SMEs. 8 international business forums with more than 600 participants and 6 international cooperation events with 457 SMEs and also international workshops and conferences with SMEs were carried out.The third main emphasis task of the SMEs innovation promotion in QUICK concerns education. Curricula for four new training courses were worked out, are realised with 952 participants and transferred BSR wide. 6 existing technology training courses were selected in accordance with the urgent SMEs needs and were transferred BSR wide. With the support of QUICK project three other dual-degree programs were promoted and implemented by two universities. The securing of qualified employees increasingly is one of the most important SMEs promotion measures.The fourth area of the SME innovation promotion in QUICK concerns the SME specific innovation policy.Strategy programmes for the policy fields "economic", "education" and "regional development" were developed and placed in intensive policy making. Additional conferences with EU commissioners, MEP, ministers and many politicians have been performed. 8 books and 8 booklets were published, 8 TV programmes were carried out, results were presented at different events and also in mass media.Beneficiaries of the results are SMEs. Innovation, productivity and competitiveness of SMEs in 10 BSR countries will increase permanently on a broad basis. The biggest bottleneck in SMEs are skilled professionals. By realising professional training and support for dual bachelor's programmes, the companies are supported in a sustainable way and young people receive very good work opportunities in SMEs. The promotion of innovation and qualified staff in SMEs is already showing great successes. Since the support will continue after the project end, there are even greater long-term positive effects.
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