The Foundation Project webinar Policy Support for Industrial Resilience took place on the 26-6-20 and was moderated by Dr John Hobbs, Cork Institute of Technology, coordinator of the project. Dr Hobbs presented how Foundation has been progressing to the 120 participants who joined the webinar, with the goal of providing a framework/roadmap for regions facing industrial closures, job losses and uncertainty, to develop economic resilience.

Foundation is especially important in the response to Covid-19, where the consortium is working to develop Action Plans which will support the re-opening of industry and those members of the workforce affected by the crisis getting back into employment.

The webinar was an opportunity to share nine policy initiatives from partner regions aimed at supporting firms and citizens get back to work in the face of the pandemic. These are summarised  below. Click for PDF of the presentation slides or Recording of the webinar.

New Frontiers – Southern Region – Ireland

New Frontiers is an Irish programme to develop entrepreneurs and accelerate the development of sustainable new businesses that have strong employment and growth potential and contribute to job creation and economic activity in regional locations. It supports firms with a tax free stipend (€15k), a programme manager, mentoring and training, office space, financial management, market research & validation, business modelling, patenting, product development, marketing & sales training.

Rural SME Internationalisation Operations Model – NIHAK ry - Finland 

Rural SME supports rural companies in their internationalisation process by peer network and shared marketing. The role of facilitator who acts as an intermediary and builds neutral platform for companies to explore joint opportunities and prepare cooperation without preliminary commitments is extremely important. Participation in the programme allows firms to understand their stage of maturity level and therefore where the most growth impact can be had. 

Podkarpackie vs Coronavirus – Rzeszow - Poland

A number of different initiatives have been designed as part of an extraordinary call of the Regional Operational Program in Podkarpackie to support firms through Covid-19. Including, Liquidity loans for entrepreneurs - up to €150,000 per company and repayment within 6 years and Liquidity grants for Small Businesses – who employ up to 49 people.

Speed up Programme – Murcia – Spain

Speed Up is a training and mentoring program created to offer a “re-invention opportunity” to professional profiles whose professional activity has been developed in sectors in crisis. The objective is to increase the capacity building of professionals to “re-skill” and “up-skill” for their professional lives. Participants attend both group and individual sessions, receiving training in entrepreneurial skills, business model design methodologies, bench-marking and network with the stakeholders e.g. BICs, Business Angels, Scientific Park etc.

Clusterland and COVID-19 – Linz - Austria

Supportive Corona emergency packages by the Federal State and the State of Upper Austria have been designed to help companies to obtain liquidity and gain access to government programs. Clusterland has a mandate for servicing the all regional companies, setting up a task force of 50 pax helpline for firms, value chain development for PPE and setting up innovation projects to meet new “regional” demand.

Here for Business, Greater Manchester, United Kingdom

Different initiatives have been implemented: including 24/7 opening hours; Grants administration for local authorities; weekly business membership group meetings, PPE - personal protective equipment sourcing and manufacture; Employ GM; Supply portal; Webinars, and support firms in accessing to Government Schemes etc.

No Quarantine on the Internet - Lithuania

Designed to help Lithuanian SME firms survive and be successful on the Internet because physical stores were closed and some of Lithuanian businesses did not have e-shops or did not have the technical skills to develop a successful e-shop. The Lithuanian e-shops’ database was implemented as a virtual shopping center to reach citizens.

Szombathely ReStart – Hungary

A local program with a holistic approach to drive social inclusions while maintaining sustainable competitiveness for the broad ecosystem. Key focus or intervention areas were defined by the municipality together with large employers and representatives of local businesses. Three pillars of the program: Buy Local - Be Online - Spend Wisely. 

Workers Buy Out (WBO) - Reggio Emilia – Italy

WBO is an innovative instrument used when workers acquire ownership and control of a company which is facing closure. In case of crisis or generational turnover, employees can try to save companies, by creating a cooperative, thereby keeping their jobs and ensuring that the know-how acquired over years of employment is not wasted.