Both BioBase4SME and SuperBIO (H2020) projects presented their outcomes and findings to set-up and manage voucher schemes for SMEs and start-ups active in the circular bio-economy to access innovation support services. 24 participants were present at this dinner debate representing different EU organisations or companies, such as Members of the European Parliament, representatives of funding agents Interreg NWE and EASME, representatives of SME’s and SME associations, government representatives and consultants. The presentations were concluded by putting forward 3 main discussion points to the audience:
- the importance of a co-financing system;
- the availability of cross-border services and value chains to generate a pan-European ecosystem;
- the need to set up a voucher system to allow companies to use services offered by actor outside their region.
As conclusion it can be said that, the projects made clear that offering vouchers to SME’s to support them in their innovation can create a huge leverage effect. All speak about environment and sustainability, but there are still many barriers. Having co-financing and grants makes it easier. But how can we improve this ecosystem and come to bigger scale, as this is the big challenge? The voucher support scheme will certainly play an important role in this. Additionally, the Bio based economy can be seen as an opportunity for less developed countries or more rural countries to create jobs in their own region. As it is not possible to bring down to every region every activity, members states should make choices and co-finance it, and maintaining it by signing a partnership agreement with the EC.
Impressions of the debate
Presentations and the photo gallery are available here.
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