Regional Mediterranean project to develop independent living of the older generations

Identifying and strengthening Mediterranean small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the field of eco smart housing to develop active and independent living of the ageing generation through WIDER.

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Learning about machines to help the elderly at the ‘Energy Cooperation for Silver House’ by DCHS in Slovenia. © SVIM Learning about machines to help the elderly at the ‘Energy Cooperation for Silver House’ by DCHS in Slovenia. © SVIM

" The use of the device created in the framework of their innovative project “Voice recognition accuracy improvement” led to a high speech recognition rate that reaches 97%. This fact increased significantly the reliability of the products of the company for the benefit particularly of the elderly people. "

Eleftherios Pageorgiou, director of ENTRANET

The ageing of the EU population is a considerable challenge requiring adequate, innovative solutions, which WIDER brings forward.

The project will support the implementation of pilot projects of selected small-sized local companies in partner regions. Companies will get the chance to enhance the value of their products and to position themselves more easily on new markets. The project focuses on energy efficiency, independent living and maintain or improve the living standards of an ageing population.

User-driven strategy

The WIDER project is building cross-sector network relations among stake holders in the regions and encouraging bonds between stake holders and the target population. It also aims to strengthen the cooperation between SMEs, research, innovation centres, and intermediary bodies to foster innovation while establishing communication channels between SMEs and the ageing population for product testing according to their needs and preferences.

For example, ENTRANET, a Greek company granted with an innovation voucher in the framework of WIDER, designs and manufactures speech recognition products, targeting the Assisted Living Market (voice recognition systems in elevators – control of electronic household appliances through voice commands, etc.)

Achievements thus far

The sustainability of project results will be facilitated by the WIDER project through creating user-driven and eco-smart strategy; enhancing social demand and awareness for locality; and establishing new forms of cooperation between politicians, the business sector and the region’s ageing population through specific associations, day care centres, etc. These are the most relevant figures of the project:

  • about 600 local MSMEs, trade associations, institutions representatives, etc. have been trained and stimulated throughout the whole project territory by means of about local 65 seminars and workshops;
  • about 10 000 local stakeholders (businesses, institutions, research & innovation bodies, general public, etc.)  were directly and indirectly involved in WIDER project activities;
  • a pilot transnational voucher scheme was tested with the aim to allocate funding to MED MSMEs wishing to improve their position within the emerging new market of the eco-smart housing for elderly. This was the bulk of the project and it produced 79 applications received with the final allocation of 37 innovation vouchers (whose total value was EUR 316 000) dedicated to the realisation of 37 innovation projects;
  • 22 WIDER Local Innovation Experts (WIDER LICs) of the 7 partner regions - among university teachers, project managers, researchers, businesses and institutions representatives - were appointed for the assessment and monitoring of the 37 innovations projects;
  • 139 knowledge providers from the MED Programme area were included in the WIDER transnational list;
  • 2 WIDER Innovations Fairs with a total of more than 500 attendees were organised;
  • 1 WIDER Learning expedition to Frankfurt World Fair ‘Light & Building 2014’ was undertaken, with 29 enterprises from WIDER pilot industrial areas;
  • altogether about 460 b2b or r2b meetings were arranged and realised among the 3 transnational networking/brokerage events organised/participated by WIDER;
  • a total of 18 WIDER regional and national road-shows were organised (a variety of events and activities ranging from presentations, exhibitions, ceremonies, debates, meetings), giving over 40 000 people a chance to learn about the project’s results, etc.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “WIDER – Green Growing of SMEs Innovation and Development in the Energy Sector in the Mediterranean Area” is EUR 2 525 746, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 2 292 142 from the Operational Programme “Mediterranean” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

Draft date