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To promote and support entrepreneurship to create new SMEs (PROSPECTS)
Start date: Dec 31, 2009, End date: Dec 30, 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

PROSPECTS aims to promote the entrepreneurship regional policies in the current or former regions heavily dependent on mining or traditional industry. This project is built on a partnership coming from both Regional Competitiveness and Convergence regions. The 10 Partners, located inside a United Kingdom–Spain-Slovenia–Poland quadrilateral, provide different levels of know-how and knowledge in the field of the SMEs promotion.The regional issues addressed by PROSPECTS are crucial for the partners as well as for the regions with economic retrogression due to their industrial past. From then, the project partners will focus their works on 4 strategic themes inter reacting in connection with the overall project priority: strengthening the attractiveness of the territories, enhancing business support structures, supporting business clusters, supporting eco-innovations and knowledge.During the first stage of the project, each Partner will carry out 4 thematic analyses and appraisal oftheir own experiences focused on the above issues and will exchange them in thematic task groups. At the end, the various analyses will be combined during a Cross-cutting seminar to produce a Resources/needs grid. A Good practices Breviary will be drawn up from these works. This 1st stage result will supply new insights to be used as a material to define the public policies of SMEs promotion. It will also increase consistently the skills of both policy makers and officers in charge of the economic development.This initial exchange will be the starting point of the 2nd stage of the project: engineering of a Transfer Plan by each Partner.. The use of a peer to peer method applied to the interregional cooperation will increase efficiently the intensity of the collaboration between the partners for each of them to set up their own transfer plan. This will consist of 10 local strategic plans based on the at the end of the first stage. The efficiency of this second stage willbe strengthened by the exchange of staff within the whole team of partners. A Strategic guideline will be drawn from the findings and achievements of this stage. To ensure the impact abroad, the main findings of the project will be disseminated along the running of the project.Finally, a project toolkit enclosing the Good practices Breviary, the Strategic guideline and a Synoptic memo will be widely spread to the local authorities all over Europe facing similar issues with the help of the mining communities network. The dissemination will also target the support business organizations identified by the partners.At last, the achievement of the project objectives and its outputs will enable the establishment of an interregional Strategic Team which will be in capacity to advise European regions facing similar issues.To conclude, this project will offer new prospects in a crucial issue: enhancing the entrepreneurship and promoting the quantitative and qualitative creation of SMEs Achievements: PROSPECTS aims at improving the efficiency of regional policies in the field of SMEs promotion and entrepreneurship in the former and current mining regions. During the first phase of the project (exchange of experiences), the policy-makers of the 10 partners met six times.First, at the Launch conference in March 2010 in Wigan (UK), the partners introduced the economic data and policy context of their region: e.g. population, rate of unemployment, sectors of activities, description of past and current industries, lacks and resources...From June 2010 to June 2011, 4 Thematic task group meetings (TTGM) were held. During these TTGM, each partner has presented a report on a good practice : the reports were prepared on the basis of a common framework to get comparable results. In total, 40 good practices were presented on the following thematics: "Enhancing regional business support structures", "Attractiveness of territories", "Supporting clusters", "Innovation and knowledge economy".First brochure of the project, the PROSPECTS Good Practice Breviary has been produced in October 2011 and introducedat the Cross-cutting seminar held in Arras (France). During this meeting, each partner chose one good practice amongst the 40 in order to elaborate a tranfer plan of this good practice in close collaboration with the "donor partner" (second phase of the project). After having constituted the working sub-groups, the bilateral workshops for the transfer were held from October 2011 to March 2012. For example, the County council of Pas-de-Calais and the Labour Fund Zasavje chose to work on the transfer of the training programme for entrepreneurship, presented by the Spanish partner Laviana, at TTGM n°1. This ambitious programme was implemented by Valnalon, a management company funded in 1987 by the regional institution of Asturias so as to promote an industrial regeneration in the Nalon Valley, in order to increase skills and behaviours favourable to business such ascreativity, initiative, decision-making and assumption of risk. It covers all the educational stages from primary education to university with evolving, social or international projects leaded by pupils.The success of the programme was reinforced by the support of the public administration and included in the EUs best procedures for entrepreneurial education. Another experience intended to be the subject of the transfer plan of ACOM France is the EnergyLab – the Student laboratory in the Science Park Gelsenkirchen (Germany). The EnergyLab aims at developing a medium and long-term strategy to counteract the lack of personnel with qualifications in sciences and technology. The core elements are the reinforcement of technical and science teaching in schools and informing school-level students at an early stage about career prospects in these fields. The EnergyLab project creates a place outside the school for students to engage in practical learning and receive career guidance in therenewable energies and climate protection technology sectors. Working groups for afternoon activities are continuously offered to students over the course of a semester.A core component of the service is a scheme to provide deeper career guidance, which is implemented in cooperation with businesses from around the region, particularly in the form of company or project tours.The 12 PROSPECTS transfer plans were presented at the Joint session (Karvina - CZ - April 2012).Communication and dissemination activities have also taken place. The leaflet of the PROSPECTS project has been disseminated. 8 press conferences were held. 6 newsletters were produced. All these materials are available on PROSPECTS website, so as the reports and powerpoint presentations made by the 10 partners during the meetings. Moreover, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the territorial cooperation, the INTERACT programme chose to show the PROSPECTS project as a good example in the video made for the occasion.
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