Project Details

Title: Business to Nature - Interregional Approach to SMEs and Entrepreneurship Policies in Natural Areas
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 2010 - 31st Dec 2012
Website: http://www.business2nature.eu


Total budget: €1,893,085.24
ERDF contribution: €1,495,691.09

Lead partner

Polish Tourism Development Agency
ul. Chałubińskiego 8
00-613, Warszawa

  • Click for contact details
    • Contact Person: Magdalena Ragus
      Phone: (+48 22) 463 80 30
      Fax: (+48 22) 463 80 32

Project summary

The considerable lack of entrepreneurial initiatives in some European regions makes it essential that the public sector takes an active role in supporting the small and medium-sized enterprises, in particular in those less developed regions both in EU-15 and new member states territories performing below EU average in terms of productivity, employment rate and R&D expenditure. Most of these territories tend to be predominately rural and are located often in magnificent natural areas. Here economic development can become the victim of its own success if it does not develop in a sustainable way. This is particularly visible in vulnerable natural areas, where some regions already face problems connected with an unbalanced development.


B2N project (BUSINESS TO NATURE – INTERREGIONAL APPROACH TO SMEs AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN NATURAL AREAS) aims at contributing to the endogenous development of European regions by promoting entrepreneurship in underdeveloped areas building on local skills,

the attractiveness of the natural environment and best practices in entrepreneurial initiatives that have already proved to be successful.


B2N project succeeded in getting a combined partnership of EU-wide partners coming from old (ES, PT, UK, FR, IT, SE) and new member states (PL, BG, SI) with common problems, complementary experience and specialised knowledge. Applicant territories embrace magnificent natural places, where SME development is directly dependent on healthy environments, a classic example of a win-win strategy in the long term. Partners will work together on the improvement of SMEs and entrepreneurship policies by analysing the existing situation of SMEs, reviewing policies and identifying good practices, which are expected to be transferred during the implementation of the project into project partner’s territories. The main activities comprise joint analysis and elaboration of studies pursuing common methodology and joint events (seminars,

workshops, study visits), accompanied by strong dissemination effort to communicate project’s results inside and outside partner’s territories. B2N is willing to provide a model policy framework to support SME’s development in vulnerable natural areas, in line with sustainable development principles. The project will focus on two policy areas: 1) Setting up new businesses, 2) Developing new marketable products and services by existing entrepreneurs (supporting innovation). Due to characteristics of the applicant regions, it is expected that new entrepreneurial initiatives will be created in tourism sector, comprising a wide range of economic activities ranging from traditional to new technology based services.


As a result at policy level, B2N´s goal is that the SMEs and entrepreneurship policies will be improved in all partners’s regions and, in later stages, the results of the project will contribute as a model of SMEs development in natural areas to EU-wide stakeholders.

Project achievements

In December2012, after 3 years of hard work the B2N project came to an end. Its main aims were to support the EU entrepreneurship and environmental policy on local and regional level, prove that business and nature can co-exist in a harmonious way, sharing its values for the successful sustainable EU development and give tools to local authorities for stimulating economic development in most vulnerable natural areas. Results and outputs of the projects are of quantitve and qualitive kind. The most important in the first kind are:1.analysis and expertise studies elaborated with Policy Recommendations, Exit Strategy and 10 Road Maps playing leading role;2.on-line data-base of over 40 identified good practices;3.9 study visits; 4.opening and closing conference;5.local dissemination events;6.a wide range of dissemination activities, including creation of the B2N website, brochures and newsletters. They were all done according to targets given in the application form and are very important

for reaching the project’s aims.Still more important are quality results. The biggest B2N success is building a solid, creative and engaged partnership, willing to cooperate in the future and dealing with new challenges. It is also a huge amount of knowledge and experience which each partner could gain within the lifetime of the project and can now use in day-to-day professional and private life. Total number of staff with increased capacity amounts to 41. What also seems to be very important for the project itself is the fact that partners managed to find an example of an initiative reflecting perfectly the B2N idea (Urnatur in Ostergotland), proving at the same time that it is really worth to look for different solutions and practices, and then transferring them widely throughout the EU. The B2N project implementation influenced 9 regional development policies at local levels and 1 regional development policy at national level. 3 policies were improved–this was Natitute policy in

Auvergne (France), local development strategy in Alto Tamega (Portugal) and rural development policy in Poland. It’s also of great importance that a few spin-off activities took place in the lifetime of the project and are now ensuring its continuity. 3 new project ideas were born and 3 applications forms submitted to different European programmes, from which one project is already being implemented (it concerns nature tourism certification system in the Baltic States based on Natures Best in Sweden). Last 3 years showed that a crucial factor for success are people. It should be noted here that although the project itself started on 1 January 2010, in practice it started almost 1 year earlier. The whole preparation of the application form was a process carried out by the partnership, not the lead partner itself. Of course it turned out that the final group of partners differed a little bit from the original one, but still – the project idea and plan of activities were created by

future project partners. It is also of great value that in the first phase of project implementation some certain rules were set up and then obeyed by the partners, regarding communication as the most important thing to deal with when having such a wide and differential partnership. Taking into consideration a crucial role of sharing experiences within the B2N project it should be also stressed that one of the B2N highest values was the partnership diversity. The fact that partners came from different countries and represented different organization (both as far as their main activities and their legal status are concerned) gave an unusual chance to see different points of view regarding many issues concerning business, nature and regional development.


Institution, Town Country Region Contact details
Polish Tourism Development Agency, Warszawa POLAND Mazowieckie (+48 22) 463 80 30
Office of the Marshall of the Warminsko-Mazurskie Voivodship in Olsztyn, Olsztyn POLAND Warminsko-Mazurskie 4889 521 94 68
Institute for Economic Development of Ourense Province (INORDE), Ourense SPAIN Galicia 34 988 391 161
Östergötland County Administrative Board, Linköping SWEDEN Östra Mellansverige 46 13 196000
Perugia Province, Perugia ITALY Umbria 39 075 3681300
Regional Committee for Tourism Development of Auvergne, Aubiere FRANCE Auvergne 33473294940
Cyngor Sir Powys County Council, Llandrindod Wells UNITED KINGDOM East Wales 44 (0) 1597 827460
Grand Paradis Foundation, COGNE (AO) ITALY Valle d'Aosta/Vallée d'Aoste 39.0165.75301
Development Association of Alto Tâmega´s Region, Chaves PORTUGAL Norte 351 276 340 920
Local Development Center Pivka, Pivka SLOVENIA Vzhodna Slovenija +386 59940519
Warmia and Mazury Regional Development Agency JSC Olsztyn, Olsztyn POLAND Warminsko-Mazurskie 48895211250


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