Project Details

Title: Regional cooperation for crafts' development
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: €1,145,262.62
ERDF contribution: €936,056.67

Lead partner

Zemgale Planning Region
Katoļu street 2B
LV-3001, Jelgava

  • Click for contact details
    • Contact Person: Dace Strautkalne
      Phone: +371 63021250
      Fax: +371 63084949

Project summary


Many European regions have long traditions and culture of crafts. The crafts sector contributes to the uniqueness of the regions, regional appeal to its visitors, inhabitants and to the regional economy as a source of local employment, income, and social and economic stability. The craft sector is important for preservation of local culture and heritage. The crafts is a part of the “creative industries” which promises high growth potential in the future. Today, the sector in general in the EU faces several important problems, such as:

(1) the fierce global competition of cheaper products; (2) loss of old skills and traditions; (3) difficulties of getting into the markets; (4) loosing the customer appeal of traditional crafts' products; (5) lack of financial resources and economic capacity, as most of the craftsmen are very small SMEs, self-employed or

hobby-based establishments.


The overall objective of the project is to strengthen the craft industry in the European Union as an economic sector and to raise its importance in the economy and development of each project partner region.

The specific objectives of the project are:

(1) to develop efficient policies for regional support of crafts' development;

(2) to disseminate the project results and raise awareness of craft sector issues for target groups - policy and decision makers at at regional, national and EU-levels, craftsmen and craft sector stakeholders, and general public.


The project will reach its overall and specific objectives by a) good practice exchange visits and study trips: b) elaboration of regional policy implementation plans for each partner; c) dissemination and information activities at local seminars and the EU-level conference; d) creation of good practice case study report on regional policies for crafts' development.


The good practices learnt will be transferred into regional policy implementation plans. Therefore, project results will last for several years ahead and will bring added value to the regions via strong craft sector. This will be done by choosing the right and effective regional policies. Also, it will bring significant value of contributing to the theme of promotion and revitalization of craft sector at EU level.


The project has been initiated by Lead Partner - Zemgale Planning Region, the organization that unites several municipalities in Zemgale region in Latvia and joined by 5 other partners from across Europe - the Netherlands, Spain, Bulgaria, Portugal and Greece. The partners are regional and local authorities, or authority established institutions with aims to stimulate regional development.

All partners have various experience working with craft and creative industries issues and are committed to share and exchange good practice and experiences.

Project achievements

Project has started its work in January 2012 when partnership agreement between partners was signed and partners got acquainted to each other. The overall objective of the project is to strengthen the craft industry in Europe Union as an economic sector and to raise its importance in the economy and development of each project partner region. Specific objectives are: 1) to develop efficient policies for regional support of crafts and 2) to disseminate the project results and raise awareness of craft sector issues for target groups (policy makers, craftsmen, general public). To reach overall and specific objectives of the project four main activities were implemented: (1) Good practice exchange visits and study trips: To identify good practices in craft sector 6 exchange of experience seminars and 2 study trips have been organized. During 1st exchange of experience of seminar in Latvia partners discussed general issues and policies in crafts sector in project area. Lead partner shared

good practices in craft sector: craft support centres, higher education program “Craft and Design Technology”. 2nd seminar was held in Veenhuizen, Netherland were pressure cooker method was presented. This method allows creating new products in short tile as designer and craftsmen works together for common goal and in limited time frame. 3rd seminar design and innovations in crafts took place in Cascais, Portugal. 4th seminar took place in Gabrovo, Bulgaria and specific theme of this seminar was about crafts in future tense: training, education and skills transfer. 5th seminar took place in Kavala, Greece were marketing, information and promotional channels for crafts products were discussed. 6th exchange of experience visit took place in Granada, Spain.The specific theme was: General policy development and design for strengthening craft industry. Each partner shared their experience and gained new information while craftsmen from all 6 countries participated in workshops. 1st study

trip was organized in Leeuwarden, Netherland were experience with attracting youth to shipbuilding by offering create solar boats with 3D printers, but 2nd study trip was in Cascais, Portugal were partner showed good examples – creative incubator, cork design salon, shop with local products which are rebranded. (2) Elaboration of regional policy implementation plans: All partners have organised consultation meetings with local stakeholders, analysed existing situation and other partner experiences. As a result 6 Policy Implementation plans were elaborated and approved. (3) Dissemination and information activities: To secure awareness of stakeholders about project results and achievements detailed project communication plan is elaborated. Partners regularly prepare press releases and distribute them to mass media and communication channels to reach stakeholders. Five project Newsletters are prepared and distributed. Project web site is kept up to date: as

well as Facebook page: Dissemination events organised.

(4) Creation of good practice case study report: Project partners have gathered 12 good practices that can help crafts sector to overcome challenges it is facing due to globalisation. The results of work have been published in a case study report/book “Creative crafts: Experience and Inspiration” were 12 stories cover four topics of main issues in the contemporary crafts: the necessity to preserve craft skills and traditions, add value to them by blending crafts with design and innovations. Support is vital when it comes to growth of the sector, but crafts education is what enables transfer of skills and entrepreneurship in the sector.

(5) Project Closing conference was organised were 230 participants from more than 7 countries participated. During conference top issues concerning crafts development discussed and project results disseminated.


Institution, Town Country Region Contact details
Zemgale Planning Region, Jelgava LATVIA Latvija +371 63021250
Public Foundation The Legacy of al-Andalus, Granada SPAIN Andalucía 0034 958 225995
Foundation Kulturele Haadstêd 2018, Leeuwarden NETHERLANDS Friesland (NL) 0031 (0)6 51440369
Regional Association of Municipalities “Central Stara Planina”, Gabrovo BULGARIA Severen tsentralen 00359 66 804 613
Municipality of Paggaio, Paggaio GREECE Anatoliki Makedonia, Thraki +30 25923 50000
Cascais Town Hall, Cascais - Lisbon PORTUGAL Lisboa 351214815180


As of 31 December 2015, this website is no longer updated. Follow news on interregional cooperation at