Baltic Sea Region targets strong SME activity
The promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Baltic Sea Region has gained strength over the years. Getting in on this action is the EU, which recently inked a deal with ScanBalt — an instrumental network of networks seeking to put the ScanBalt BioRegion on the global meta-bioregion map — to spearhead the project Bridging Life Science Research and SMEs in the Baltic Sea Region – Putting Cluster Policies into Practise for the Benefit of SMEs (Bridge-BSR).
|Action in the region.|
Bridge-BSR's main objective is to identify bottlenecks in ScanBalt BioRegion for linking academic research with SMEs. In ScanBalt BioRegion, life science and biotechnology actors from 11 countries are represented: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland and Sweden, as well as the north region of Germany and north-western Russia.
This action will help actors report fruitful results in various areas, including the following: innovation; the set-up of shared SME support structure; the development of an investment structure targeting stronger SMEs; and the integration of intellectual property management in different networks. For the latter in particular, this will help strengthen commercialisation and set up a shared SME support structure for regional clusters, intensifying the participation of SMEs in EU programmes.
Other aims of the project include the promotion of mentoring and benchmarking between the ScanBalt BioRegion-based clusters.
'The Bridge-BSR will promote cohesion in the Baltic Sea Region between fast-growing tiger economies in the Baltic states, Poland and Russia, as well as the Nordic states, which are already among the most innovative in the world, and Germany,' explained Hans-Robert Metelmann, a Professor at Greifswald University and Chairman of ScanBalt.
The Baltic Sea Region, according to Professor Metelmann, is at the top in Europe, but it has ambitions to do more. 'In the future, we will see stronger collaboration on common challenges for the populations in the region,' he commented. 'Like, for example, cancer prevention, where coordinated efforts between policy, science and industry in the Baltic Sea Region can enhance life expectancy.'
The consortium anticipates a number of positive project results, including a joint innovative agenda that will influence SME-based innovation. Sources were quoted as saying that the agenda will be integrated with regional authorities and their strategies.
'Agreements between the regions on cross-border efforts to strengthen SME-based innovation is a significant step to develop ScanBalt BioRegion as a globally competitive hot spot attracting human, industrial and financial resources,' remarked Peter Frank, who coordinates Bridge-BSR. 'The development of shared services between clusters, the common benchmark system to be implemented, enhanced access to financing and integration of intellectual property management in various networks will strongly support this,' he added.
The project partners announced that the official kick-off meeting for Bridge-BSR, to be hosted by the Latvian Biotechnology Association, is scheduled for 6 March 2008.
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