Fomento San Sebastian was our hosts during the 2-day learning occasion in October 2018. During the 1st day the partners were kindly invited to a conference around Internationalization of Territories: Innovation and Talent Attraction international models Case of Oslo, Helsinki, Utrecht and San Sebastian in the frame of WeekInn. The participating actors could learn about nowadays’ socioeconomic challenges like the lack of skilled workforce and the phenomena of brain drain, the international mobilization of workforce. The invited international experts representing the measures of the cities of Oslo, Helsinki, Utrecht and San Sebastian were speaking about the different actions these cities are carrying out to attract and to keep talented people.

The audience could learn about the experiences of invited entrepreneurs coming originally from San Sebastian who participated in the program of the city and collected professional knowledge abroad, and returned to San Sebastian after this process.

Before the 2nd conference in frame of a short study visit the participants had the occasion to visit the Talent House and learn about its services and facilities for entrepreneurs and their families.

In frame of the afternoon session - “Conference Internationalization of the Innovation: HORIZON EUROPE. SME Instrument. WHAT'S next? Next challenges for the innovative companies” – the audience listened to the newest information about Horizon Europe program and the experiences of Horizon2020, the experiences of entrepreneurs with the SME instrument and internationalization and followed a short debate of the invited speakers about the challenges of the innovative companies on in the global competition.

The UpGradeSME partnership closed the day with a pleasant dinner hosted by Fomento San Sebastian.

On the second day, after the warm welcome of Mrs. Yesenia Otamendi, representative of Fomento San Sebastian the partners started with the discussion of the technical management of the project. Beneath the technical and financial management the discussion was about the services and last events of the INTERREG EUROPE Policy Learning Platform, how this initiative can support our processes and about the collecting of the good practices in the project.

As a next step all partners were invited to give insight into their regional activities. We learned about the results of the local communication and stakeholder events and news related the involved policy instruments.

After the 1st session, the event continued with the summary of the Lead Partner about the implications of the 3 policy analysis topics METHODOLOGY, IMPACT and INTEGRATION to highlight the results of the analysis procedure and to provide an overview for the action plan elaboration. As a next step, the coordinator of the actual analysis topic POLICY INTEGRATION Mrs. Gilda Niculescu presented the results of the policy INTEGRATION survey carried out by the partners during the last semester. Mrs. Gilda Niculescu initiated a short debate about the open questions and missing information about certain policy instruments. The partners then took part on the peer review of the local policy instrument of San Sebatian in the interpretation of Mrs. Yesenia Otumendi, representative of Fomento San Sebatian. The participants learned about the numerous programs contributing to the internationalization process of SMEs and to the talent attraction and the close cooperation of the regional actors with the scope to strengthen these segments. As the closure of this section, Mrs. Yesenia Otumendi and Mr. Fernando Mendez-Navia held a short interactive discussion how to improve the local policy instrument on base of the international learnings of the partners. 

As the last session of the event, the partners were invited to present the first version of the local action plans, which aim to provide improvement proposals for the following instruments:  

  • EDIOP 1.3.1 - Supporting (international) market access of micro, small and medium sized enterprises (HU)
  • Internationalization of SMEs (RO)
  • SME support through Cross Sectoral development (NL)
  •  Internationalization of SMEs – contact point for Research and Innovation Programmes (DE)
  • Development and implementation of new business models in SME, especially in what refers to internationalization (Investment Priority 3b of the Regional Operational Programme NORTE2020, specific objective 2.2.1) (PT)
  • Support to the SMEs capacity to grow in regional, national and international markets, as well as in the innovation processes. (ES)


Photo credit: Fomento San Sebastian and Pannon Business Network