Project Details

Title: Innovation Hubs for Edge Cities
Priority: 1: Innovation and the knowledge economy
Theme: Innovation, research and technology development

Type of intervention

Type of intervention: 1: Regional Initiative Project
Mini-programme: No
Duration: 1st Jan 2010 - 31st Dec 2012


Total budget: €1,469,085.77
ERDF contribution: €1,129,356.73

Lead partner

Municipality of Nacka
Granitvägen 15
131 81, Nacka Kommun

  • Click for contact details
    • Contact Person: Anders Borjesson
      Phone: +46 8 718 80 00
      Fax: +46 8 718 90 22

Project summary

The Edge Cities Network (ECN) brings together cities on the edge of the major capitals of Europe. They have in common economic, cultural and social challenges derived of this geographic situation.

Around February 2008 it was decided to carry a joint project about business development and internationalisation as a way to study and exchange new ways of promoting employment and improving their living conditions.

The idea was to use as a springboard the experience of the City of Nacka, one of ECN’s members, about the Innovation Hub, an open counseling, advising and mentoring resource staffed by local experts from the academia and business environment, available for private persons as well as businessmen and other entrepreneurs, for commercializing ideas from an invention to an innovation. Other cities joined until reaching the current composition of the Consortium: Nacka (Stockholm), Getafe (Madrid), Ballerup (Copenhagen), North Down (Belfast), Loures (Lisbon) and Pernik (Sofia).

The general objective of this project is to identify and exchange Good Practices about support and promotion of local entrepreneurship and innovative SMEs among the partner Edge Cities, taking into account their specific framework and existing Innovation Support Systems, as a way to maintain their integrity as living environments and contribute through local competencies to the Lisbon objectives. In this context, specific focus will be given to the Swedish Innovation Hub experience currently active in the Municipality of Nacka.

This includes the following sub-objectives

• Joint development of a methodology to describe and benchmark local good practices in the field of policies to support innovative SMEs and entrepreneurs

• Identification and benchmark of the different local good practices at the partner Edge Cities, using the Innovation Hub experience as a yardstick.

• Production of a Good Practice Guide to be used by experts and stakeholders in order to study the different experiences and select the most adequate to be transferred locally.

• Analysis of the success factors of the different experiences and creation of a generic transregional Innovation Hub model applicable across the Edge Cities Network.

• Production of a Roadmap to be used by the political collective as a tool for the local implementation of the Innovation Hub model in an Edge City framework

• Limited pilot implementation in some of the Edge Cities following the Roadmap in order to test its validity.

• Wide dissemination of the transregional Innovation Hub experience across the collective of EU Edge Cities.

The Edge Cities Network will incorporate the results of the project as a permanent toolkit to be improved and updated by the members beyond the administrative end of the project.

Project achievements

The objective of InnoHubs is the identification and exchange among the partner cities - cities living at the edge of European capitals - of good practices in promotion of local entrepreneurship and innovative SMEs with the ultimate goal of creating Innovation Hubs. During three years (2010-2012), InnoHubs has covered a long road from Good Practice identification and model designing to activities on the field, study visits and pilot experiences consolidated into a pragmatic Roadmap.

After a short consolidation phase to establish the project as an operational entity with an organizational, administrative, management, control and communication infrastructure, the initial activity consisted in the identification, description, categorization and selection of good practices. The partners worked jointly in the design and tuning of the methodology and tools needed for this activity, then individually at their sites collecting the information.

This task continued in the background during the rest of the project, collecting a total of 34 Good Practices, structured into six pillars: Promoting Mindset, Training, Start-up, Operation, Growth and Collaboration.

Based on the study and documentation work done, the first half of the second year was devoted to the preparation of the theoretical foundations of InnoHubs: the InnoHubs Model and the Roadmap to the Innovation Hub. For both items, a complete blueprint was prepared and ready to be validated at mid-project (month 18). The Innohubs Model gives municipalities a generic framework to think about how they can stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship in a city, while the Roadmap provides guidelines on how the Innohubs model can be implemented in practice and which steps are important to take in the implementation process

This activity was completed with a mutual exchange of knowledge among partners along the full second year through two rounds of study visits.

The Consortium cities received representatives of the InnoHubs partnership that visited good practices’ sites and met with their local counterparts, stakeholders and beneficiaries. The impact was very positive, and both the visited and the visiting parties showed their interest in continuing these exchanges in the future within collaboration frameworks outside the scope of the project.

In the middle of 2011 we started bilateral pilot experiences at Nacka-Getafe and Loures-Ballerup, addressing the need to establish the seeds of an Innovation Hub by applying the InnoHubs Model and following the Roadmap.

The pilots will be in the future integrated into a model to support innovation, starting with developing an innovation platform and mindset, training students in innovation and making them collaborate with companies, then training companies in the innovation process from generating ideas to launching products and services on the market. The sequence is:


1) Ballerup: Creates a platform for innovation and develops a collaboration platform that brings together teachers, students, companies, experts, and municipality staff and politicians

2) Loures: Transfer of innovation knowledge from universities to companies, by matching students previously trained in innovation at the university to do internships and projects in companies.

3) Getafe: Generating and selecting ideas for innovative business opportunities in companies by involving their staff in innovation initiatives,

4) Nacka: Training companies on how to translate innovative ideas into business models and launch them on the market

The subsequent final update of the InnoHubs Model and the InnoHubs Roadmap were presented at a closing Conference in Nacka attended by partners, policymakers and stakeholders. A commitment to continue working together in the application of these tools –the InnoHubs Declaration- was signed by the partners' authorities at the end of this event.



Institution, Town Country Region Contact details
Municipality of Nacka, Nacka Kommun SWEDEN Stockholm +46 8 718 80 00
Getafe Initiatives, S.A. Municipal, Getafe SPAIN Comunidad de Madrid +34 91 665 36 20
Ballerup Municipality, Ballerup DENMARK Hovedstaden +45 4477 2801
North Down Borough Council, Bangor, Co. Down, Northern Ireland UNITED KINGDOM Northern Ireland -
Loures County Council, Loures PORTUGAL Lisboa + 351 21 982 69 60
Municipality of Pernik, Pernik BULGARIA Yugozapaden +359-76 603 474


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