The number of startups in Europe is growing constantly. Which is why, one of the main goals of European Union is to create a reliable, supportive ecosystem for them. In order to do so, Innova Foster project has been established. Its’ main objective is to leverage startups growth by engaging them into the innovation processes at local or regional level and improving their role as regional and industry innovation providers in seven European regions. Recently, the partner visit of these seven regions representatives took place in Malta.

Seven European regions that make up Innova Foster Consortium are: Madrid (Spain), Podravje (Slovenia), Cork (Ireland), Oldham (UK), Tartu (Estonia), Malta, and Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodship (Poland). Through both individual and collective efforts they implement project’s main objectives and tasks in their region, for example identifying and sharing examples of good practices, ideas, and solutions, and tailoring them to regional and local needs in order to develop an action plan.

However, one of the most important tasks given to Innova Foster partners is implementing these action plans, what as a result may improve their regional policies. The aim of all actions included in these plans should be to encourage startups and young SMEs to grow as a business and involve more into startup ecosystem, for example by being innovation providers for their industry.

In order to keep up with what has been done in other regions, partners constantly remain in contact. To get to know each other’s plans and already made progress even more thoroughly, partner visit are also being held. One of which took place on Wednesday, 6th of November in Malta. Malta Enterprise, partner of the project, and host of the visit enabled all partnering regions to exchange experiences gathered along the way of actions’ implementation. Visit started off with a few words of welcome and presentation of the meeting agenda, done by Fundación INCYDE from Madrid, Spain – leader partner of the project. Later, each partner presented their action plans and already implemented activities. It soon became apparent that everyone was in a good stead and ahead of the initially established timeline.

The first part of the meeting was followed by Q&A session. Visit participants got the opportunity to clarify any doubts and share their thoughts on how to improve or solve issues brought up during action plans presentations. The last part of the visit was roundtable dedicated to organizational matters and brainstorming the upcoming final conference of the project.

Meeting all partners in person and ability to discuss issues important to the project directly with leader partner was surely very beneficial to visit’s participants. What is more, it helped understand the big idea behind action plans implementation better. It has been stressed, that the main focus of it should be communication and establishing relationship with regional startup based on trust and transparency. Now, with a fresh look partners can re-evaluate some foreseen actions or adjust ways of implementing these more to startups expectations. Until next partner visit, happening in Autumn 2020, Innova Foster Consortium will keep working on leveraging regional startups growth and helping European Commission develop true European startup ecosystem.