Project Details

Title: Policy Learning to Unlock Skills in the TEXtile sector
Priority: 1: Innovation and the knowledge economy
Theme: Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Type of intervention

Type of intervention: 1: Regional Initiative Project
Mini-programme: No
Duration: 1st Jan 2012 - 31st Dec 2014


Total budget: €1,710,000.00
ERDF contribution: €1,347,889.71

Lead partner

Municipality of Prato
Viale Vittorio Veneto, 9
59100, Prato

  • Click for contact details
    • Contact Person: Antonio Avitabile
      Phone: 0039 0574 183 5984
      Fax: 0039 0574 183 7356

Project summary

Textile and Clothing (T&C) is one of the major manufacturing industries of the EU-27 in terms of production volumes, added value and jobs. This sector has been heavily hit by the recent crisis and has steadily lost competitiveness in the last few years.


Three main strategies have been adopted by T&C SMEs to remain globally competitive:

1) a cost-oriented approach - relocating production to lower labour cost countries;

2) a productivity-oriented approach based on ICT to develop global sourcing networks;

3) a knowledge-intensive and innovation-oriented approach pursuing market diversification towards high-quality and special textiles products.


The PLUSTEX project aims to foster policies that enhance the knowledge- and innovation-oriented approach and thereby support SMEs of the T&C sector in their need for modernisation, innovation and strategic transformation to adapt to global challenges. It aims to deliver GPs to support the creation of new business models, manufacturing

technologies and marketing strategies with a sharper focus on quality, technology, design, sustainability, and user-driven production.


The approach of the project is to mobilise public authorities and stakeholders with a strong presence of the T&C sector in their territories to share their best policy solutions that can help restructuring the existing models of productivity and economic development. By collecting, analysing, exchanging and transfering successful good practices, the project will allow the partners to learn from each other and increase the effectiveness of their policies to support the entire value chain of the T&C sector.


According to the partners' policy priorities, the focus of the experience exchange will be on the following six policy areas:

1. support young entrepreneurship and innovative business models in the T&C sector;

2. diversify production towards high-quality, speciality and high-tech textiles and niche products;

3. increase levels of art, design and creativity into market production;

4. support clustering and internationalisation of T&C SMEs;

5. foster eco-innovation and social responsibility in the T&C industry;

6. foster T&C incubation and start-ups.

These themes will be the focus of a series of interregional exchange activities (Policy Learning Cycles) that will allow the partners to capitalise upon their most successful good practices.


The project will eventually deliver Implementation Plans defining how the partners’ policy making levels can best integrate the policy lessons into their strategic objectives. These Plans will be formalised as Partnerships for Regional Innovation that will identify the key actors and measures that can durably capitalise upon the project's results within the local/regional policy framework.

Project achievements

PLUSTEX fosters innovation and the knowledge economy in the Textile & Clothing (T&C) sector. It aims to improve public support policies to SMEs in order to modernise, innovate and adapt to global challenges. Nine public partners from eight european regions have exchanged proven policy solutions to support innovative productive models for greater growth and competitiveness of SMEs of the T&C sector. This was done by implementing nine Policy Learning Cycles (PLCs) aimed at analysing, exchanging and transferring Good Practices (GPs) among the partners. Two PLCs focusing on “supporting young entrepreneurship and innovative business models in the Textile & Clothing sector” identified four GPs: 1) Maisons de Mode: supporto to young fashion brands in Lille and Roubaix (FR), 2) SPINPARK of the University of Minho: support to technological entrepreneurship in Guimarães (PT) 3) Textile Centre of Excellence: ‘state of the art’ training and production facilities in Yorkshire and the UK

4) Avepark’s "Young Impulse" Strategic Plan implementing the Portuguese Strategy for Young Entrepreneurship. One PLC on “Textile&Clothing incubators and startups” identified two GPs: 1) INNOTEX: support to new innovative textile companies in Lille metropolitan area (FR) 2) PASSAGE: Capability Management Platform supporting SME’s industrial knowledge, knowhow and skills (BG). The PLC focusing on “fostering art, design and creativity in market production” identified two GPs on: 1) Creative Industry Finance’s pilot programs to develop the creative business in the UK 2) TEXMEDIN project: valorise Textile&Clothing heritage and knowhow to support young designers and companies by Prato (IT). The PLC on: “clustering and internationalization of Textile&Clothing SMEs” identified two GPs on: 1) CLUBTEX: supporting innovation and internationalisation in technical textile businesses in Lille (FR) 2) Public Measures to Support SME’s clustering and internationalisation in Tuscany (IT).

Two PLCs on “diversifying production towards highquality, speciality and hightech textiles and niche products” identified five GPs on: 1) MORATEX: project management methodologies to activate competencies and skills of project researchers by the Institute of Security Technologies (PL) 2) Ecofoot spinoff from the University of Minho´s Center for Textile Science in Guimaraes (PT) 3) Smart specialisation and technological foresight for fashion sector by Next Technology Institute (IT) 4) Scottish Manufacturing Advice Service (UK) 5) CETI: European Centre for Innovative Textiles by Lille Métropole (FR). The PLC on “fostering T&C incubation and startups exchange meeting’s results” identified two GPs on: 1) Textile Incubation Centre: services to developing firms within textile professional networks by Lille Metropole 2) NanaBianca: italian StartUp accelerator by the Textile Museum of Prato. The last PLC focusing on “fostering ecoinnovation and social responsibility” identified two GPs on:

1) Fashion Enter: Social Business Incubator by the Winchester School of Art 2) Cardato Recycled: Ecolabel by the Textile Museum of Prato. These 19 Good Practices have been selected among 52 Good Practices that were identified by the partners. From these 19, partners have further selected nine GPs that have been included in the Implementation Plans for transfer and implementation: 1) CETI European Centre for Innovative Textile 2) Creative Industry Finance 3) INNOTEX Textile Incubator 4) Maisons de Mode support to young fashion brands 5) Nana Bianca 6) PASSAGE 7) SMEs Internationalisation 8) SPINPARK business incubator and 9) Textile Centre of Excellence. Eight Implementation Plans have been drafted by the partners each focusing on one (or more) of the nine GPs. Each partner’s IP describes how it will transfer the selected GP to its territory, while taking into account the Smart Specialisation Strategy of the region for maximum relevance, feasibility and sustainability of the transfer.


Institution, Town Country Region Contact details
Municipality of Prato, Prato ITALY Toscana 0039 0574 183 5984;
Lille Metropole, Lille FRANCE Nord - Pas-de-Calais + 33 3 20 21 24 18
Agency for regional and economic development - Vratsa, Vratsa BULGARIA Severozapaden +359 92 66 55 09;
Lodz Region, Łódź POLAND Lodzkie +48 42 663 31 03;
Kaunas Science and Technology Park "Formerly: KTU Regional Science Park", Kaunas LITHUANIA Lietuva +370 37 333006
University of Southampton, Southampton UNITED KINGDOM Hampshire and Isle of Wight (44) 023 80594163
Pannon Business Network Association, Győr HUNGARY Nyugat-Dunantul 0036 94 505 003
AMAVE - Vale do Ave Municipalities Association, Guimarăes PORTUGAL Norte 00351 253 422 400;


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