FRiDGE has influenced policies by helping to set up new projects, making suggestions for formulating calls for funding and suggesting changes for the management of policies. Our partnership coordinated the activities, but not much would have happened without our stakeholders in our regional stakeholder groups and wider!
On the way towards the policy changes, we summarized our milestones in the FRiDGE Handbook introducing our three key studies and their findings: Analysis of regional food sectors, Policy assessment and SME survey, the Speciality group studies, the Good practices and the Action plans.
We hope our policy changes will last and have a positive influence on the future development on food SMEs:
The Lead partner of FRiDGE, TCDA Tolna County Development Agency Nonprofit Public Benefit Ltd, worked on the Hungary ERDF ESF Economic Development and Innovation Operational Programme 2014-2020. FRiDGE contributed to improving the last food industry specific call in the policy instrument before the start of the new programming period in which the food industry specific support was moved to the Rural Development Programme. Suggested modifications built on the exchange of experience of FRiDGE to include verified advisory and training services into the new call as an optional activity. It was accepted as there had been other calls that had successfully included these actions and a list of verified service providers. The addition was validated based on the SME survey of FRiDGE showing that training is a well-founded activity that should be supported by the call for applications.
Harghita County Council aimed to influence the Rural Development Strategy of Harghita County Council 2021-2030 by improving management of the objectives of the policy instrument. In action 1 the workshop would contribute to the specific goal of the strategy to improve the quality of life in rural areas by using existing production traditions and culture as a resource ensuring the dissemination of innovative solutions when informing producers. In action 2 workshops the facilitation of cooperation among the actors of the dairy product chain addressed the objectives of the strategy regarding the strengthening of local cooperation for integrated development.
University of Western Macedonia influenced the Regional Operational Programme 2014-2020 of Region of Western Macedonia. The policy change related to the implementation of a new project “Promotion, Networking and Attracting New Members as Activities of the Agrifood Partnership of Western Macedonia”. This kind of initiative had never been funded before in the region. Actions were implemented by Agrifood Partnership of Western Macedonia; the regional food cluster with the Region of Western Macedonia as a core partner.
Regional Council of South Ostrobothnia influenced 3 policies:
1. The Regional Strategy of South Ostrobothnia by YDIRE-project with the aim to improve the resilience of small Food Industry SMEs with the help of digitalisation and networking - both key development issues that have been addressed in the studies carried out in FRIDGE project.
2. The Regional Programme of South Ostrobothnia 2022-2025 by 2 projects: 1. South Ostrobothnia Innovation Ecosystem Event - New Platform for Collaboration for building innovation ecosystem in a form of an event with the focus especially on innovation, business support and start-ups and 2. PREMIUM - particularly distinctive food products to encourage small food SMES to produce more value-added premium products and to increase consumer understanding of developing such products.
3. Regional Rural Development Programme for South Ostrobothnia 2014-2020 by FRIDGE supporting the implementation of Food Province 2030 - project to create a food sector development strategy for the region and to make it more targeted, clear and coordinated.
Competence Center for Nutrition worked on the Premium Strategy for Food to continue to develop and expand existing projects and improve their visibility. That would be done by expanding the Genuss Schätze Bayern with promoting 3 new products and improving public relations by using events attended by relevant interested parties and key persons to promote the projects.
Economic Council of East-Flanders influenced Economic Development Policy Plan for East-Flanders 2013-2019. They implemented new projects embedded in the policy instrument, such as the communication action and raising awareness on local products and producers in schools with the focus on the relationship 'healthy, local and delicious' among East-Flemish young people to stimulate the East-Flemish local economy.
They also made a structural change in the policy instrument adding a new measure, the Living Lab, that will be established when moving to a new building with space for it. Then it will be possible to bring together all the players from the quadruple helix of the food industry. The living lab has become a policy objective.