1. What is the Regional Development Agency of the Prešov Self-Governing Region? What are your goals and your challenges?

RDA is an association of legal entities established by the University of Prešov and Prešov Self-governing Region in 2005. The main role of the agency is to support the economic and social development of the Prešov Self-governing Region and Eastern Slovakia using the state, structural, regional, social, technology and industrial policies. It is a non profit entity and has a yearly contribution from the Prešov Self-governing Region and also from the economic activities of the agency. At present the Agency has 18 employees. The Agency provides information services, guidance and consultancy services, implementation services, public relations and publishing services, training and educational services.

The main goals and challenges of the Regional Development Agency can be summarised in a few points. The Agency strives to:
Contribute to social stability and economic efficiency of the PSGR
Spread relevant information to all the parts of the PSGR
Increase the competence of the region when it comes to drawing financial help from the EU fund
Assist in preparation of regional strategic documents
Identify and specify project opportunities
Be an active partner in international projects
Handle regional promotion at home and abroad and attract investors to the region
Handle preparation coordination and implementation of activities of cross-border cooperation
Cooperate with all Slovak and foreign organisations and institutions that are interested  in helping fullfil and achieve the missions and goals of the association

2. Could you introduce yourself, personally? What motivates you?

My name is Artúr Benes and I am a general director of the Regional Development Agency of the Prešov Self-governing Region. The development of our region is of importance to me, especially when looking at our region and how much it has to offer in so many areas. Through my work I am trying to create possibilities for regional actors to develop and expand and thereby develop the whole region. I believe that through projects like OSIRIS we can together change our region for the better.

3. What are your expectations for the OSIRIS project? What do you hope to get out of it and what do you believe the rest of Europe will get out of it?

I welcome international activities such as the OSIRIS project which brings new ideas and new perspectives on the issues we’re facing, helping us to overcome possible development challenges. I see the OSIRIS project as a big opportunity to learn from partners and their good practices how to involve and utilise open social innovations in the development of our region.

We see OSI as a tool to influence regional policy creation. This could be done by joint efforts through co-creative events and the involvement of regional actors. The utilisation of OSI in the mobilising of creative industry in the Prešov region is our main theme in the OSIRIS project. There are many creative young people in our region who are trying, mostly on their own, to succeed in the creative industry. Right now though, the infrastructure for this kind of industry is underdeveloped. These creators are working mostly independently with limited possibilities and resources. The result is, that if they don’t find good conditions here in our region, they move to the western parts of Slovakia or even abroad. The OSIRIS project and the utilisation of OSI is an opportunity to reverse this trend. By influencing policy instruments we could create the necessary conditions for mobilisation and further development of the creative industry sector.

Naturally, all of this is also a two way process. The Prešov region can offer a lot to our partners and Europe and we hope we’ll be able to show it to you during our co-creative event in March, 2017, with the aim to all learn from each other.