We asked Mr. Lennard Drogendijk the managing director of Business Development Friesland about his staff exchange impressions:

“Together with Municipality of Leeuwarden in January 2018 we have visited the region of San Sebastian in the frame of the staff exchange. We have exchanged experiences in San Sebastian with the UpGradeSME partner of Donostia San Sebastian. We have visited local incubators and they have presented the international activities of Donostia. We were impressed by the number of Horizon 2020 SME Instrument grants the organisation manages to create for her SMEs. What was remarkable is the amount of SME Instrument phase 1 and phase 2 winners in the region, also based on the support they received from Donostia. Next to that we liked the international vision and strategy on talent attraction in the region. This vision was supported by some visits to incubation like programmes. Scholarships and apprenticeships are offered in various places and with various financial background. During our stay we also visited an energy neutral and sustainable building in the industrial area of the city where we were told about smart grids. We have learned about talent management and could share that with the various groups in Leeuwarden and the Northern Netherlands. “