Innovative Sector Exchange | 2 Mers Seas Zeeën

ISE

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Innovative Sector Exchange

Priority Axis

Technological and Social Innovation

Specific objective

Framework Conditions for Innovation

Lead partner

Kent County Council

Contact

Date de début

01/04/2016

Date de fin

31/12/2020

Project budget

2 855 597

ERDF amount

1 713 358

ERDF rate

60%

    À propos

    Common challenge

    The ISE (Innovative Sector Exchange) project dealt with a significant challenge of the 2 Seas area: promoting the growth of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. SMEs, constituting the majority of businesses in the area, are instrumental in employment generation and their expansion is crucial for economic development. The project recognized the vital interconnection between innovation and internationalization for SME growth. However, a prevalent issue is the lack of awareness : many of these companies, in fact, want to export but they don’t know how to adapt the products or services for international markets. Therefore, they aren’t aware of how these factors can be applied effectively in their specific sector, regional context, or in exploring new markets.

    In response, the ISE project strategically tailors its support packages to serve as a cost-effective solution, aiming to assist over 500 SMEs in navigating these challenges. By addressing innovation (encompassing process, product, and service enhancement) and internationalization (facilitating collaborations and technology transfer), the project facilitated an Innovative Sector Exchange. Through targeted coaching and support, ISE sought to empower SMEs, unlocking their potential, fostering regional economic development, and enabling them to thrive in an increasingly competitive and globalized business landscape.

    Main Achievements

    The ISE project made significant strides in supporting businesses across five regions (Kent, Hauts-de-France, East & West Flanders, and the SW of the Netherlands) to enhance their internationalization and innovation efforts. The collaborative efforts of seven project partners were instrumental in assisting SMEs, enabling them to expand their business horizons and establish international contacts. ISE concentrated its efforts on four key sectors: Food & Drink, Mechatronics, Digital & Creative, and New Materials.

    ISE has positively impacted over 1000 SMEs through a diverse range of activities. This includes 31 Taster Sessions introducing innovative methods, 8 workshops covering innovation and internationalization topics with participation from experts in partner regions (162 SMEs), 117 personalized 1-2-1 diagnostic assessments providing recommendations and new contacts, and 12 sector-focused ‘Innovation Pathway’ events across France, Belgium, England, and the Netherlands, bringing companies together for two-day programs focused on innovation, market insight, networking, and new business contacts (272 SMEs involved).

    Despite the cancellation of the project's final event due to Covid-19 restrictions, several noteworthy events took place during its lifetime, such as two cross-border conferences (141 SMEs), including a digital innovation summit, and the formation of four cross-border clusters, with two gaining further development—food & drink and digital & creative. The latter has launched itself as the ‘Imagineers International’ cluster, set to continue beyond the life of the ISE project. Additionally, seven company visits to major international trade shows, focusing on market trends and contact building, along with ISE ‘pitching sessions’ and networking activities, encouraged collaborative efforts and contacts between businesses from different regions (117 SMEs). Post-event surveys reflected very positive feedback from participants, indicating that the project's work was concrete and aligned with the needs of businesses.

    Testimonial

    “I could not have achieved our exports without the ISE project.”
    “I have hugely profited from ISE by acquiring valuable business growth information. It has been helpful to share information and contacts with networking groups, especially in Europe. We have also been able to sign up with one of the UK’s well know artisan food wholesalers recently thanks to ISE networking influence.”
    "I met new businesses and learnt about new processes, materials and applications."

    Partnership

    Partners

    VOKA Kamer van Koophandel West-Vlaanderen

    VOKA Kamer van Koophandel Oost-Vlaanderen

    Stichting Innovatiehuis

    Provinciale Ontwikkelingsmaatschappij (POM) West-Vlaanderen

    Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce

    ADITEC Pas-de-Calais (Association pour le Développement de l’Innovation et de la Technologie )

    Outputs

    Output title
    Type
    Target
    URL / Download
    31/03/2020

    ISE

    Thème: Support to innovationServices to SMEs

    Establishment of a group of new sector-focused cross-border clusters in the 2 Seas region

    Type: Network
    Target: Cluster organisations
    31/03/2020

    ISE

    Thème: Support to innovationServices to SMEs

    Programme of Hands on Innovation Workshops led by HEIs

    Type: Method/service
    Target: Innovation agencies
    30/11/2019

    ISE

    Thème: Support to innovationServices to SMEs

    Cross-border innovation guide created

    Type: Method/service
    Target: Innovation agencies
    30/07/2019

    ISE

    Thème: Support to innovationServices to SMEs

    'Innovation Pathway' programme delivered to help companies apply innovation techniques

    Type: Method/service
    Target: Innovation agencies
    30/09/2018

    ISE

    Thème: Support to innovationServices to SMEs

    Programme of cross-border innovation workshops delivered to support SMEs as a new innovation service

    Type: Method/service
    Target: Business support centres and agencies
    31/10/2017

    ISE

    Thème: Support to innovationServices to SMEs

    Updated diagnostic tool developed to help SMEs assess innovation & internationalisation potential

    Type: Method/service
    Target: Business support centres and agencies
    30/09/2017

    ISE

    Thème: Support to innovationServices to SMEs

    Programme of innovation taster sessions delivered to support SMEs as a new innovation service

    Type: Method/service
    Target: Business support centres and agencies