Interreg Europe SCALE UP Final Conference: "The road ahead: European SMEs and their path to Scaling up"

Last 1st December, the Interreg Europe SCALE UP project held its final conference online entitled, "The road ahead: European SMEs and their path to Scaling up".

This event, organised by the SCALE UP consortium with support from Interreg Europe, marked the close of the project’s first phase. It also provided a platform for managing authorities, regional development practitioners and other relevant stakeholders to discuss the current support tools provided to SMEs on their path to scaling up along with future opportunities targeting their growth and recovery from the economic effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.

During the conference, 170 registered participants heard from DG GROW, European Innovation Council (EIC) and Interregional Innovation Investment (I3 initiative) experts who outlined programmes, calls, and initiatives that the EU has launched to address and develop solutions for the problems and obstacles that SMEs are facing on their path to scaling up. The consortium also outlined their action plans to participants, showing how their road ahead could look like.

Firstly, INFO Murcia’s action plan will consist of a training program accompanied by mentoring sessions specifically tailored to the areas of interest and needs of each company. The goal of this action plan is to allow participants to continue growing solidly and take advantage of new opportunities that the market offers them.

Secondly, Regionalmanagement NordHessen aims to develop a new additional focus to its operational program with new measures, focusing on the special needs of growth of SMEs from the industrial sector. Hesse’s action plan contains 3 actions that incorporates two best practices: the UpScaler Project (Nottingham) and the Open Innovation Challenge (Lazio Innova).

Thirdly, the Regional Development Fund of Attica’s plan is to connect the research community to industry by guiding the best ideas of the research community from the lab to the market. The aim is to develop research-based products/services that will be incubated in existing or new companies (spin-off).

Meanwhile, Lazio Innova will integrate their selected best practice into “LOIC: Lazio Open Innovation Centre of Zagarolo” project, while Lubelskie Voivodeship has selected an action modifying support for entrepreneurs of the economic marketing - “Technological Pilot” (TP). TP, as an element of this ecosystem, aims at providing support to, among others, SMEs by involving experts to assist SMEs in increasing their competitiveness in various aspects and solving the problems.

Finally, Nottingham City Council and D2N2 Growth Hub ‘s plan will integrate elements of the ‘Subsidies for Entry’ BP (Murcia, Spain) into its support for helping SMEs to secure equity investment because the aim is to implement an Early Stage Equity Scheme to support growing SMEs.

The presentations and information shared by experts during the conference along with the presentations of the consortium related to their action plans show a glimpse into the possible future of SMEs in recovering from the pandemic. The Scale Up project continues with its 2nd phase as consortium partners put their plans into action.