On 26th June 2019 STOB regions project partner Kainuun Etu Ltd conducted a regional stakeholder group meeting. The purpose  was to review the action plans of two Interreg projects in which Kainuun Etu is participating as partner, STOB regions and SKILLS+, and discuss funding options with two institutions dealing with the Structural Funds, namely the Regional Council of Kainuu (RCK) as Intermediate Body (IB) and regional branch of the ELY centre (ELY). The SKILLS+ project is finalising its action plan and Phase 1 ended formally on 31.3.2019. The STOB regions action plan is currently being formulated and Phase 1 of the project closes on 31.12.2019.

After brief introduction of the attendees, Kainuun Etu introduced the topic and purpose of the meeting, providing an overview of the other INTERREG projects at Kainuun Etu, in addition to a corroborative overview of RCK’s role in the INTERREG projects, both as Intermediate body (BRIDGES, SKILLS+, STOB, ECORIS3), and as partner in other INTERREG projects (INNO PROVMENT, e-MOPOLI, BRIDGES).

In the context of STOB regions, the action plan concept was presented, and a reminder of the importance of STOB regions to address the regional challenges and characteristics of BT and the focus on business renewal. Reminding also the project has received strong support from national level Business transfer project under the operation of the Federation of Finnish enterprises, in addition to creating national linkages to the other regions in Finland. 

The Regional council of Kainuu (IB) provided deeper feedback on INTERREG projects; the process, value and benefits of knowledge sharing, good practice identification, operations of the PLP etc, during phase I. Linking also to the transfer of good practices, additionality and importance of implementation during the second phase. From the perspective of RCK, it was commented that the IE projects allow a direct link and detailed insight to other regional strategies, providing valuable opportunities for the identification of transferable actions to be implemented in the region of Kainuu.  Focusing on the STOB regions project, the IB communicated the good timing of the action plan, given the pressing and growing need to solve the issue of continuity of business, and its importance to the regional economy. 

The two action lines of the action plan were described; policy impact and policy implementation through ground level services, stressing above all the cooperative and systematic approach of the proposed actions. Mentioned were the qualification requirements for BT advisors, as part of such services. Referenced also was the South-western Finland platform and concrete results, coordinated by the region’s branch of the Federation of Finnish Enterprises. The action plan concept as presented was accepted by the attendees, however, it was stressed that a more comprehensive approach was needed before final decisions could be made.

It was agreed to conduct a follow-up meeting in September to continue in more detail the discussion of STOB regions funding possibilities, before the planned 16th September Interregional Action Plan meeting.

For more information on project partner Kainuun Etu visit the website here.