Interregional teamwork to improve policies and ecosystems Cooperation, collaboration and community engagement

Interreg Europe helps regional and local governments across Europe to develop and deliver better policy. By creating an environment and opportunities for sharing solutions, it aims to ensure that government investment, innovation and implementation efforts all lead to integrated and sustainable impact for people and place.

To achieve this, Interreg Europe offers opportunities for regional and local public authorities across Europe to share ideas and experience on public policy in practice, therefore improving strategies for their citizens and communities by co-funding interregional cooperation projects. Malta Enterprise participates in two such projects, RELOS3 and Innovafoster.

RELOS3: Bringing together the Maltese blue economy stakeholders and foster innovation

Malta Enterprise, in collaboration with the Malta Council for Science and Technology (MCST) and Malta Marittima, is bringing together policy makers, experts and key stakeholders in the local Maritime sector as part of the RELOS3 project. The participants address the main areas for improvement in the local maritime services industry, and improvement of the overarching Maltese blue economy sector.

The RELOS3 project is co-funded by Interreg Europe and focuses on implementing regional Smart Specialisation Strategies (RIS3) in a local context by actively involving local authorities, innovation actors and industry. Policy makers and experts from Estonia, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Malta participate in the RELOS3 project to contrast, develop and improve local policies with the aim to facilitate deployment of priority investments and delivery of innovation at a local level.

Maritime services have been identified locally as requiring particular action in this respect. Malta Enterprise together with MCST and Malta Marittima have undertaken the required research, stakeholder meetings and interregional visits, and are in the process of identifying the main issues the sector is dealing with and address these in a Local Action Plan, which will be presented to the Maltese Government by the end of 2018.

In this light, Malta Enterprise, in collaboration with the aforementioned government entities, organised a business breakfast for key stakeholders in the local Maritime sector, where initial project findings and ideas on actions to address the main areas for improvement in the local maritime services industry were discussed.

Further more, the project allowed representatives from Malta Enterprise and the Planning & Priorities Coordination Division of the Ministry of European Affairs and Equality to participate recently in a capacity building event in Seville, which brought together over 50 policy makers from all over the EU which was the last in a series of five Thematic Events. For the next step in the project, mutual visits are planned, which will allow the partners to take an in-depth look at eachothers actions to implement the project’s goals at local level. The first visit will take place in September, when the project visits Emmen in the Netherlands.

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Innovafoster – Improving the ecosystem for start-ups, scale-ups and innovative processes

Malta Enterprise regularly meets the key stakeholders in the Malta start-up ecosystem to discuss and find solutions for the main issues which could hamper Maltese start-ups and scale-ups. Thanks to the Innovafoster project it can now also participate regularly in international knowledge-exchange events with fellow Innovafoster consortium partners, and be joined by local key stakeholders.

InnovaFoster aims to help high potential start-up companies through spreading knowledge about innovative processes which are being used support growth. Malta Enterprise is one of seven partners, including Spain, Ireland, Slovenia, Estonia, Poland and the UK.

The Innova Foster consortium is developing a series of actions over a period of four years aimed at supporting the growth potential of start-ups and capitalising on their ability to act as regional innovation providers. The project will see the development and implementation of regional action plans to fulfill this aim. The project actions will be delivered in Malta through Malta Enterprise, in collaboration with local stakeholders and presented to the Maltese Government by the end of 2018.

In this light, representatives from Malta Enterprise, Malta Life Sciences Park, the Malta Communications Authority and the Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses, recently participated in a knowledge-exchange workshop in Oldham (UK). This was the seventh interregional learning event that was organised as part of the project.

The workshop was attended by business leaders from across Europe as well as representatives of the seven partner countries - UK, Ireland, Estonia, Spain, Slovenia, Poland and Malta - who met with Oldham Council’s strategic investment team and the Growth Company (GC) Business Growth Hub. The participants discussed support initiatives and measures, shared strategies which work for businesses, practical business start-up and growth advice, specific sector support and networks as well as access to grants and loans.

As well as meeting at the Civic Centre, the Innova Foster members met with a number of people from Oldham’s business community and representatives of Oldham Enterprise Fund, the Manchester Metropolitan University and the GC Business Growth Hub. The GC Business Growth Hub showcased their start-up and scale-up scene in Oldham and Greater Manchester.

As part of this project, Malta Enterprise recently also organised a dedicated focus group brainstorming session, moderated by Dr Leonie Baldacchino from The Edward de Bono Institute for the Design and Development of Thinking, at which all the collected feedback from local stakeholders on the Maltese start-up ecosystem was discussed, digested and modelled in to the preliminary model which is the basis for the upcoming local action plan.

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