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Creative people under 35 are vital to the development of a knowledge-based economy in Central Europe, but the lack of opportunity often prevents young innovators from realizing their full potential. InoPlaCe sought to improve conditions for young innovators, so they would remain in their home regions and come up with innovations that keep central Europe competitive.

www.inoplace.eu

Project name: Improving of Key Supporting Services for Young Innovators across Central Europe
Area of Intervention: Enhancing Framework Conditions for Innovation
Lead Partner: RERA Inc. - The Regional Development Agency of South Bohemia (Czech Republic)
Project Partners: Regional Development Agency Celje (Slovenia), Regional Development Agency “ ARLEG ” (Poland), Regional Development Agency Senec-Pezinok (Slovakia), Milano Metropoli Development Agency (Italy), Pannon Novum Non-Profit (Hungary), Europa Programme Centre (EPC) at governing body TIAW (Germany), Centre for research and innovation (Czech Republic) and Avanzi (Italy).
Duration: 05/2011 – 10/2014 

The InoPlace project employed a transnational action plan to improve services for young innovators and provided a platform that helped them take advantage of existing services. Young people with innovative ideas are an important driving force for entrepreneurship and economic development.  Eight European regions joined in this effort. 918 young innovators were involved. InoPlace provided appropriate support based on their real needs and requirements.

Partners established so-called Regional Innovation Labs (RILs) in each participating region where young innovators formulated their needs and shaped the action necessary for meeting them. The innovators worked together with the project team to identify the supporting services that are most important for them. This exercise resulted in a long list of recommended services covering a wide range of topics, most suggestions focused on some form of counselling. From this list, 20 key services were named as having the highest importance. They covered a range of areas such as commercialization of research results, obtaining venture capital, facilitating technology transfer, training and business start-up assistance.

A map created for every partner region showed the presence or absence of each of the 20 key supporting services, while also measuring the quality of any existing services. The results revealed that there already existed: significant and complex know-how to support young innovators, assist business start-ups, encourage capitalization of research and development results, promote innovative project development, Nonetheless, the results also revealed disparities among participating regions and gaps in the support available for young innovators.

A full comparative analysis was conducted, to draw a clear picture of how the needs of young innovators were addressed in all partner regions. That showed the differences and similarities of the supporting services provided to young innovators across partner regions and revealed the opportunities and scope for improvements. While conducting this analysis, project partners also identified examples of good practices that were transferable from one region to another.

 

Deliverables

1) Comparative study
The study provided a clear picture how needs of young innovators were covered in different regions in relation to the pre-defined twenty key supporting services. The study also provided hints to InoPlaCe project partners, service providers and policymakers on the gaps in each region in relation to supporting services to young innovators and suggested how the regional performance could be improved. The study was the basis for further InoPlaCe outputs (e.g. the Good practices compendium or Transnational action plan) but also supported the regional authorities in formulation and implementation of effective measures and instruments supportive for the key services development. The study also addressed services providers for whom it served as a guiding document on their role in the process of enhancement of the framework conditions for innovation through the improvement of the services they currently offer or through the implementation of brand new supporting services so far not available for the young innovators.

Comparative study

2) Good Practices Compendium
The Compendium focuses on the twenty key supporting services for young innovators selected in the previous comparative case studies. The Compendium provides the overview of the “best of” among the pre-existing supporting services available in InoPlaCe partner regions with an emphasis put on the practical operation of the services and their transferability within the InoPlaCe project geographical scope. The main aim of the Compendium is to provide concise information about the examples of services which are worthy to follow and whose implementation may considerably improve the conditions for young innovators across the region of Central Europe.

Good Practices Compendium

3) Transnational Action Plan
Transnational Action Plan described the long-term actions securing sustainability and accessibility of InoPlaCe project and outputs at least in the period of three years after project closure. All Regional Action Plans created by project partners were introduced in this document and briefly described. By mapping and grouping of the different actions derived from the Regional Action Plans, the transnational action plan translated those regional action plans on the transnational level. Transnational Action Plan secured continuous cooperation between project partners on the international level. Cooperation between partners during the project life was quite successful and therefore it continued and allowed others to benefit from the results and experience.

Transnational Action Plan

4) InoPlaCe portal
The InoPlaCe project presented the concept of InoPlaCe Platform, which developed and launched the new innovative service in participating region which contributed to the development of the framework conditions for innovation by improving access of young innovators to provided services in participating CE regions. If you were a young innovator and had an innovative idea and searched for services you needed to conceive, consider and start up your project or you provider of services for start-ups and young innovators, you could log in the platform and use the different services. Such online tool was developed in order to support young innovators and other interested parties in the project regions when searching for providers of the key services which had been selected by members of Regional Innovation Labs s in the previous periods.

5) Pilot actions 
Project partners realized Pilot Actions resulting in one new service or significantly improved existing one per region. Pilot Action was implemented under the close trans-regional monitoring and evaluation from the side of all PPs. Each Pilot Action was realized as Good Practices transfer of 1 selected good practices from identified 28.