TABLE OF CONTENTS Project Progress Study Tour to Valencia...………………..1 Full Eurbest General Meeting to Launch Transfer Phase………….……..2 Partner Practical Experiences Generation Turnover- The Regional Support System Services for the Business Transfer ………………………3 Business Support – Accelerate Programme………………………………..4 A regional strategy for Cluster development………………………………5 European News FinNetSME – Network for Regional Finance……………………………………6 Access to finance of small and medium-sized enterprises..………7 Partner News RUISNET – Regional University- Industries Strategies Network……..….8 Project Partners………………………………8 Qualitative Network: Study Tour to Valencia Since the publication of the last newsletter at the beginning of the year, the members of the Qualitative network have taken part in a new study tour to the region of Valencia in Spain. The visit, hosted by IMPIVA took place during the 23 rd to 25 th February and centered on the thematic area of Business Support Services. Following the methodology used in previous study tours, Lead Participants presented their best practices and held discussions on several issues concerning business support services within their regions. The delegates concluded the Study Tour with a visit to AINIA, the Technological Institute for Food Industries. The aims of this Institute are to promote technological research and development in the food sector, increase the production quality, improve competitiveness and promote modernization and diversification in the food industry by offering services to their associates and also to carry out public or private projects of scientific research and technological development. The following study tour will be hosted by Advantage West Midlands in Birmingham during the 22 nd t to the 23 rd of June. The thematic topic to be studied will be Access to Finance. For further information on this visit, contact Socintec (firstname.lastname@example.org) Project Progress
Full Eurbest Meeting to Launch Transfer Phase The next full Partner Meeting will be hosted by AWM in Birmingham during the 23 rd and 24 th of June 2005. Although it will provide all the project participants with the opportunity of learning about the progress of the project since the last meeting in November, the main aim is to officially launch the Exchange, Transfer and Joint Development Phase of the project. Since the project started, a number of best practices have been identified through both the Qualitative and the Quantitative Analysis. These have been included in the web page for your review. The Transfer phase will work on several different levels allowing participating Regions to get involved at their own pace and to the depth they think will suit them. At its deepest the project will encourage 1 or 2 pilot transfers that we hope will enable partner regions to work collaboratively to stimulate a substantive transfer of a policy. On other levels the transfer will work virtually through the website and through email support networks, and for those who wish to take a specific practice further there is the opportunity to undertake “fact finding” study tours to a partner region to see the practice in more depth and on the ground. The crucial element to this process will be the willingness of partners to participate and Advantage West Midlands encourages any partners that would like to be involved in a pilot partner transfer early in this phase to contact Geoff Fletcher . The meeting in June will need to establish what Best Practices partners wish to transfer and how and with whom they would like to do this, again we encourage you to do some thinking on this and contact Geoff Fletcher, if you have any preferences/ideas. A necessity of the transfer will be a roll out in your region of the information transferred – therefore we will require a presentation is given back in your region to relevant decision makers/policy delivers outlining lessons learnt and good practice measures, this presentation as well as a report on the outcomes will then be available to partners, through the website. Project Progress
Generation Turnover – The Regional Support System Services for the Business Transfer In Italy the extremely high presence of family enterprises in the productive system ensures that the risks associated with succession/transferral of enterprises are really relevant. Some 43% of Italian entrepreneurs are more than 60 years old, corresponding to around 1.5 million enterprises. If we consider that 4% of this amount changes ownership per year, it means that 66,000 enterprises with 220,000 employees are exposed to the risk of the business transfer every year. Several Italian surveys have estimated that due to business transfers problems some 10,000 enterprises close every year with a total of 40,000 jobs losses. The “Emilia-Romagna Report on Business Transfer” carried out in 2002 within Action 2 framework estimated that in Emilia-Romagna region around 73,000 enterprises are running the risk of closure in the next years. In addition, the regional offer of services for business transfer is scarce, not coordinated, and not professionally qualified. The Pilot Action 2 “Generation Turn-Over”, totally managed by ASTER, is part of the SPINNER Global Grant, financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) in the framework of the Regional Operative Programme 2000-2006. SPINNER actions are focused on helping the creation of an innovative entrepreneurial system and better employment opportunities in R&D related fields via the exploitation and mobility of human capital and the know- how by Universities and public and private research centres in the region. SPINNER Global Grant includes three different specific actions: 1) Know-how Society (technology transfers, business creations, etc) 2) Generation Turn-Over (Pilot Action 2) 3) Informal work The Pilot Action 2 “Generation Turn-Over” is aimed at designing and implementing innovative actions to facilitate and support business transfer processes in Emilia-Romagna Region. It started in 2001 and will end in 2006. With an annual funding of around 190.000 Euros the pilot initiative is organised into two programme periods: 2001-2003 and 2004-2006. For more information please contact: [email_address] Partner Practical Experiences
Business Support – Accelerate Programme The Automotive sector in the West Midlands accounts for 40% of National employment in vehicle production (100.000 direct and indirect jobs) and 5.2% of Regional GDP. The region is home to the major Automotive Assemblers (Jaguar, Land Rover, MG Rover, Peugeot, BMW, JCB, Toyota, Honda, etc.) This initiative was launched in 1996 as a response to the pressures facing the sector, and particularly SMEs and is focused on the manufacturing process improvement. The main objective of the measure is to develop a dynamic and successful automotive future. It is targeted at West Midland based SMEs along the Automotive Supply Chain (component suppliers, toolmakers, or component designers) with up to 400 employees and a turnover of up to £27.5 million . The peculiarities of the initiative make it particularly sound due to the fact that it is a fully developed suit of intervention that addresses needs identified by the end users of the supply chain of the major automotive manufacturers in the region. Moreover, companies generally will get no support for free so they are more inclined to be committed to the outcomes. The tools used in order to achieve the objecive are the following: Business Development Grants – Individual company support and delivered via the region’s Business Link Network with a budget of up to £30.000 available for business development. Capital Grants – Targeted at investment in innovation and developed through a strategic action plan. Up to 20% or £20.000 maximum grant for capital equipment only. Management Development – Enabling suppliers to become more flexible, efficient and innovative through the development of their key people. Networks – Collaboration between suppliers on “mutually beneficial” business issues to promote innovation, share resources, share expertise and best practice. An average of between 4 and 10 SMEs per Network. Supply Chain Improvement – Strengthening productivity and competitiveness of assisted business in automotive supply chain through a process of improvement that will achieve measurable and sustainable results. Specialist Centres – Used as a catalyst for innovation, to develop understanding of new technologies and to enhance SME links to learning institutions. The main outcomes have been the following: 18.121 jobs in 97 companies safeguarded 160 jobs created in Supply Chains and Business Development Grants For more information please contact: [email_address] Partner Practical Experiences
A regional strategy for Cluster development The goal of the Technological Institutes is generate and disseminate the know-how and the technologies that could be used by industrial companies of the Region of Valencia. The technological environment of the Region of Valencia is made up of, basically, 16 Technology Institutes. The Technological Institutes offer to small and medium enterprises the services and technical support required to improve their capacity for industrial innovation. Currently, there are 16 Technological Institutes (headquarters) with a total of 24 centres (8 technical units). This provides a wide coverage to the entire industrial fabric, both from the point of view of the sectors, where special attention is paid to the different industrial sectors and from the geographical point of view as they are spread throughout the main industrial areas of the region of Valencia. As these Technological Institutes have a mostly sector nature, they devote themselves to the main sectors of Valencia industry: footwear, ceramics, wood-furniture, textile, toys, the metal-mechanics sector, foodstuffs, the electrical sector, information technology, plastics and construction materials. <ul><li>In other cases, their objectives are to encourage new areas of activity or to promote the application of certain technologies. This is so in the case of the biomechanics and optics Technological Institutes. </li></ul><ul><li>Services </li></ul><ul><li>Technical consultancy </li></ul><ul><li>Industrial quality </li></ul><ul><li>Technology production and R&D </li></ul><ul><li>- Design and fashion </li></ul><ul><li>- International enterprise co-operation </li></ul><ul><li>- Training </li></ul><ul><li>- Information </li></ul><ul><li>As well as these Institutes, there are another 4 centers of enterprises (EBICs), who facilitate the creation of new enterprises. They work as a network and interact with the Technology Institutes in all related to entrepreneurial. </li></ul><ul><li>The Technological Institutes of Valencia Region are the most important support for industrial clusters development </li></ul><ul><li>Technological Institutes are based on private sectors with the support of the Regional Government. </li></ul><ul><li>They are non-profit research associations and industries are associated members. </li></ul><ul><li>For more information, please contact: </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>Partner Practical Experiences
<ul><li>FinNetSME – Network for Regional Finance </li></ul><ul><li>FinNetSME is a network project designed to encourage an intensive exchange between regional public financiers on how to improve access to finance for SMEs. The project started in June 2004 and will run until June 2007. </li></ul><ul><li>20 partners from nine EU Member States will discuss current problems of SME finance, compare the situation in their respective regions and will suggest practical ways to bridge the market gap in SME finance, with or without public funding. </li></ul><ul><li>Project Objectives </li></ul><ul><li>Improvement of access to finance </li></ul><ul><li>Closure of the equity gap </li></ul><ul><li>Promotion of entrepreneurship </li></ul><ul><li>Reduction of unemployment </li></ul><ul><li>Contribution to regional economic development </li></ul><ul><li>Project Tools </li></ul><ul><li>A database comprising publicly supported regional financial instruments will be set up, </li></ul>and a "Best Practice Guide on regional supply chains and public regional finance“ will be produced as well as a "Who is Who of public regional finance" and electronic 4 newsletters. In addition, a project web-site will provide access to the database and online information on public regional finance. These tools will jointly serve for future guidance of developers of financial schemes and regional supply chains. Thus, a Centre of Competence of regional finance centralising existing regional knowledge and contacts will emerge. There will be four seminars to discuss core issues with regards to regional SME financing: "The Role of Regional Financiers in the EU", "The Regional Supply Chain", "Challenges for Regional Finance" and "Financial Engineering". These events will be hosted by the network partners and take place all over Europe. Three conferences will be organised and be open to all interested parties, reaching national and regional financial players, incubators, regional development agencies, business associations, public authorities and EU institutions. FinNetSME will contribute to regional development in the EU by improving regional access to finance for SMEs and the quality of new financial instruments, therefore fostering enterprise creation and stimulating a culture of entrepreneurship that will reduce unemployment. Linking regional specialised funding institutions to develop common approaches towards EU institutions and the EIF, FinNetSME will shape future EU regional policies and instruments. For more information please contact: claire.munck@eurada .org European News
important support to SMEs’ access to finance. The increasing risk awareness of banks has led them to expand the use of internal rating of SMEs, which will gradually lead to a rating culture where SMEs need to signal their creditworthiness to the banks, regularly discuss their credit standing and deliver timely information. Equity finance . Many SMEs need stronger balance sheets although formal venture capital is an option only for entrepreneurial growth companies. In addition to developing European venture capital markets, promoting the possibilities provided by business angels and business angel networks should continue to receive attention at regional, national and European level. The proposed new capital requirements for banks from 2007 onwards will increase stability and competition in European financial services markets, and they should also bring benefits to the SME sector. The effects of the new rules for the European economy, and in particular for SMEs, are the subject of a study being carried out on behalf of the Commission. Conclusions. To efficiently promote entrepreneurship in Europe, further European, national and regional public sector actions should be focused on three areas of SME finance: (1) improving the framework conditions; (2) focusing on early-stage financing, in particular guarantees and microlending; and (3) increasing equity in SME balance sheets. For more information: http://europa.eu.int/comm/enterprise Access to finance of small and medium-sized enterprises Improving access to finance is an important aspect of fostering entrepreneurship in Europe. The role of the public sector should primarily be to improve the general framework conditions of finance and take limited direct action only when market failures warrant it. Experience has shown that best results in SME finance are achieved when the public sector works with the markets and acts as a catalyst to encourage their development. Financial instruments . The problems of finance facing start-up businesses require long-term solutions involving the public sector. Most Member States have programmes and institutions that aim to overcome the gap in early-stage SME finance caused by high risk and high overhead costs. Efficient public support mechanisms need to be tailored to local conditions and need to be simple and accessible. This can only be achieved by using local banks and venture capital funds as intermediaries – as happens with the Community financial instruments. Bank lending . Experience from the EU financial instruments shows that loan guarantees are a very efficient way to use limited public funds and directly address the problems of lacking collateral and intangible assets. To improve the conditions of bank lending, the Commission has facilitated discussions about a code of conduct for credit institutions and SMEs. It has also produced a report on best practices in microlending. The Community financing institutions, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF) provide European News
<ul><li>RUISNET – Regional University-Industries Strategies Network </li></ul><ul><li>This project, led by </li></ul><ul><li>IMPIVA counts on </li></ul><ul><li>the participation of </li></ul><ul><li>10 partners from 10 </li></ul><ul><li>different countries. The approximate total budge is 1,448,206€ and will be carried out during July 2004 and June 2007. The main objectives are the following: </li></ul><ul><li>Improve, value and promote the recognition of the importance of university-company relations within he European regional framework. </li></ul><ul><li>Take advantage of accumulated knowledge (RIS/RITTS projects developed by the DG of Regional Policy of the European Commission) within the regional frameworkIdentify the good practices that have an impact on regional development in the 3 sectors selected for development: Innovation, SMEs and Territory; On- going Training and the Labour Market; Entrepreneurship and technology- based companies. </li></ul><ul><li>Create a forum in which to share a common outlook within the European scope, with a strong participation and generalised dissemination of models and systems, in order to exploit the potential of university-company relations in regional development, and create the Association required to ensure the project’s continuity with a large number of associates. </li></ul><ul><li>For further information: www. ruisnet .org </li></ul>Project Partners Agencia de Desarrollo Económico de Castilla y León http://www. jcyl . es / ade Agencia de Innovación y Desarrollo de Andalucia www. ifa . es AGIT- Aachener Gesellschaft fur innovation und Technologietransfer mBH www. agit .de AWM - Advantage West Midlands www. advantagewm .co. uk ASTER Scienza Tecnologica Impresa www.aster.it BIC Sardegna www. bicsardegna .it Brussels Entreprise Agency www. abe . irisnet .be CEBANOR www. cebanor . asso . fr Centro Sviluppo SpA www. centrosviluppo .it ERVET S.p.a. Politiche per le imprese www. ervet .it IAT - Instituto Andaluz de Tecnologia www. iat . es IDEPA-Instituto de Desarrollo Economico del Principado de Asturias www. idepa . es IMPIVA www. impiva . gva . es INFO -Instituto de Fomento Region de Murcia www.info. carm . es ITC-Instituto Tecnologico de Canarias www. itccanarias .org Pohjois-Karjalan Litto www. pohjois - karjala . fi Sevilla Global www. sevillaglobal . es SIVA - Selskapet for industrivekst SF www. siva .no SODENA-Sociedad de Desarrollo de Navarra www. sodena .com Sonderjyllands TIC & ErhvervsCenter www. sjec . dk SPRI-Sociedad Para La Promocion Y Reconversion Industrial www. spri . es Wraclaw Regional Development Agency www. warr .pl For more information please contact Geoffrey Flectcher, geoffreyfletcher @ advantagewm .co. uk Juan D. Olabarri, tolabarri @ spri . es Partner News EURADA supports the Knowledge Dissemination and in the general coordination and continuation of the work.