Beginning of 2020 RCIA started into the second project phase, dedicated to the implementation of the Local Action Plans (LAPs), which 8 RCIA project partner have elaborated based on the experiences and insights gained from the interregional partnership and collaboration.

Now, with the LAPs officially approved by the Interreg Europe programme Joint Secretariat, we take the chance to give you an overview of what we are planning to implement in the remaining 3 project semesters.

Below a snapshot of what the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce (BCC), RCIA partner from Catalonia, outlined in its LAP:

The RCIA LAP for Catalonia includes two mayor actions. The first one is called Design&Plug, which is a support programme for entrepreneurs that applies creative processes to help them build or improve their business models. It supports them in their initial phases (0-5 years) to accelerate their companies or helps consolidated ones (> 5 years) to gain competitiveness. It thereby brings creative approaches closer to SMEs, especially those from non-creative sectors, and makes them benefit from this powerful tool at an early stage of their development in order to introduce it as a method inherent to their way of doing.

The idea for this programme was inspired by Wallonia region, concretely by the start-up programme Fast&Plug of the Creative Hub of Liège, which BCC’s staff members visited during a staff exchange organised within the scope of RCIA project. Delighted by the innovative approach, the Liège Hub applies, BCC knew at once that this was something Catalonian entrepreneurs should also be able to benefit from. Hence, they decided to include it into their LAP and apply for additional funding to carry it out as a pilot action in Catalonia. Innovative as the practice is, Interreg Europe approved the pilot request for its implementation during the second half of 2020.

If the programme proves successful and beneficial to companies, it will be eventually integrated into the spectrum of support services offered by the private-public entrepreneurship network Catalunya Emprèn led by the Catalan Government.

The second action in BCC’s LAP concerns a programme called InnoCámaras, which is directed to SMEs from all sectors to support them to innovate. The programme consists of two phases, an initial phase of diagnosis, where a company’s flaws and innovation needs are revealed, and a second phase, where a concrete measure, including small investments partially subsidized, is put up to induce the required innovation. This programme has proven successful and encounters great demand from companies throughout sectors, the proportion of CCIs among them however, has been very small until today.

In its LAP, BCC therefore puts forth actions to bring this services closer to CCIs to increase their share among the recipients and make them benefit from the knowledge and financial support available. These actions concern methodologies and communication strategies to concretely address CCIs as a target group. The RCIA partners from Austria (Austria Wirtschaftsservice - aws) and Belgium (Public Service of Wallonia), who both operate specific programmes to support innovation in CCIs, inspired BCC to adapt InnoCámaras programme in this sense.

By means of these two actions, the BCC intends to contribute to the bigger objective of establishing CCIs as a main pillar of the Catalan economy and help exploit their full potential for growth and develop the city’s and region’s competitive edge.