On March 8th, 2022, the RATIO interregional workshop was morganized. It focused on using the Covid-19 crisis as an opportunity to turn businesses more innovative. The disscussion was based on a compendium of good practices. They were introduced by RATIO partners representing several EU countries and initiatives generated during the Covid-19 pandemic, helping enterprises stay afloat and develop new products and services.

In the presentation of the work keynote, Arturs Dombrovskis (SIA ARDENIS), a representative of Vidzeme Planning Region, expressed several essential reflections on the lesson learned. One of them was that the crisis is not only source of problems but also the source of oppertunities. Sharing his experience on how companies  in Latvia have managed to reduce the negative impact of the crisis, the rersearcher mentioned the following measures: cost optimization by the integration of digital solutions, a search for new sources and revenues (new products, new distribution channels, new customers) and attraction of newly qualified staff.

The event also presented some examples of good practice, covering both the new investment initiative to promote innovative projects for SMEs and the use of public contracts to boost innovation capacity of affected enterprises. Representatives of RATIO partnership countries  also introduced the support programme for start up entrepreneurs and a compensation voucher initiative for SMEs. A valuable tool to helpentrepreneurs is the transnational Innovation Brokerage Systém and the Municipal Support Funf for Microenterprises. Given that the tourism sector was particularly hard hit during the crisis, we also looked at Re-launch suport for the tourism sector.

RATIO team put two topics forward for a purposeful discussion: digitalization measures and new ways for financing, bringing together what has been observed and drawing conclusions for future safe exit from the crisis.

The partnership also argued that crisis could happen again - although they may be different in nature, the impact on business may occur. So it is necessary to be prepared in good time and use the existing experience to analyze and distinguish between successful and valuable solutions those which require minor or significant improvements.