Project Details

Title: Mini-Programme for SME Innovation and Promotion of RTD
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: Yes
Duration: 1st Jan 2010 - 31st Dec 2013


Total budget: €4,004,000.00
ERDF contribution: €3,233,000.00

Lead partner

Aragonese Federation of Municipalities, Regions and Provinces
Mayor 40, 2º-3º
50001, Zaragoza

  • Click for contact details
    • Contact Person: Romina Magni
      Phone: +34 (976) 20 31 04
      Fax: +34 (976) 39 81 40

Project summary

SMART+ origins from the INTERREG IIIC RFO "SMART" that initiated a network of regions striving for identification and transfer of innovative approaches of regional development in the context of economic restructuring processes and globalisation. SMART+ builds upon a joint strategy of the participating regions attaching the utmost relevance to SMEs as the key force for the transition of economy based on traditional industries towards the knowledge-based economy. This strategy and numerous analyses of the needs and threats of SMEs in this respect, identify limited capabilities of the SMEs as one of the biggest hinders affecting the full exploitation of their potential. The project strives to boost regional enterprise through the transfer of knowledge. The involved Partners have merged their efforts to analyse, transfer and disseminate their good practices for the improvement of the capabilities of the SMEs to absorb innovation and increase their competitiveness on the global market.

SMART+ involves 6 regions: Aragón (ES), Małopolska (PL), Western Macedonia (GR), Saxony (DE), North-West Romania (RO) and Southeast Bulgaria (represented by NAMRB). Each partner region is represented either by the regional public authority or an authorized body having the public legitimacy of the responsible governmental bodies to implement the activities on the regional level. The involved project partners are in charge of strategic shaping of the process of the analysis and transfer of the policy mix related to the core issue addressed by the project. SMART+ will establish a mini-programme with a very high intensity of co-operation and the possibility to deepen and broaden the transfer of policy instruments in the selected key fields of interventions. To this end SMART+ anticipates to realize six subprojects of a 24 months-long lifetime (incl. a six months-long dissemination phase).

The subprojects address themes as stimulating the integration of SMEs in networks and clusters and improving access to RTD and business partners, strategies and tools on converting the research potential into economic return (spin-offs, start-ups), capacity-building and development of new skills for SME staff and training of innovation/RTD management, mentoring programmes with peer management and experts. SMART+ will first and foremost enable the transfer of experience and empowerment of the public officials (via study trips, seminars and workshops) at policy level with respect to the improvement of the managerial and technical capacities of SMEs to absorb innovation. The project will identify good practices and policy instruments that could be applied in the participating regions. The strategic exchange will result in the elaboration of Smart+ Charta and Regional Implementation Plans for the regions involved and national and EU authorities with respect to the mainstream programmes.

Project achievements

Since the start of the SMART+ miniprogram in January 2010, the 6 partner organizations from Aragon (ES), Saxony (DE), Malopolska (PL), Western Macedonia (GR), Cluj County (RO) and Burgas (BG) have collaborated in developing strategies for the exchange of experiences in the field of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in SMEs. To support and add value to the results, a Strategic Expert Committee (SEC) had been established at the beginning. With the help of an ex-ante analysis, the following fields with the highest demand for action had been defined: Consulting Services for SMEs / Cooperation between SME & Research Institutes / Financial Services for SMEs / Company-based Innovation Management / SME Network & Cooperation Management / Start-up and Spin-off Support. These fields of action became the focal points of the call for subprojects. After the implementation of the tendering procedure with the assistance of the SEC, the following 7 subprojects were approved by the consortium in 2011:

IART Territories (creation of a business network in the field of sustainable tourism); INNOFIN (strengthening competences of early stage finance managers); REGIONET (transfer of good practices in the field of network management); SMART TOURISM (good practices for destination management systems to increase attractiveness of tourism destinations); SMEGONET (SMEs and institutes from life sciences and related sectors shall increase their capacity for networking and collaboration); STP (developing Science and Technology Parks in the partner regions); TREC (set-up of a transnational renewable energy cluster). Each subproject involved partners from at least three different partner regions. A total of 28 public and public equivalent institutions participated in the subprojects. Official was the kick-off event in Kozani (GR) 17-18th May 2011.The following implementation of SMART+ and subprojects was characterized by the definition of the final character of the main outputs (SMART+ Charta and

Regional Implementation Plan -RIPs, good practice collection and implementation), by communicational measures (e. g. SMART+ website:; one brochure about the goals and contents of the subprojects, one brochure with the main achievements of the subprojects – all to be downloaded via the website; outstanding events like the SMART+ conference on the 13th OCT 2011 in Krakow the conference at the EUREGIA 2012 on the 24th OCT in Leipzig) and by a continuous monitoring and reporting of the SMART+ project and the subprojects. The most important results of SMART+ and the subprojects were evaluated and transformed into policy recommendations. With a collection of successful good practice transfers achieved in the project, the recommendations were summarized in the SMART+ Charta, which was released in the second semester of 2013 and presented in the final SMART+ conference in Zaragoza at the 22nd OCT 2013

The Charta simultaneously constituted the starting point for the Regional Implementation Plans, which work as a regional concretization and progression of the SMART+ Charta. The RIPs mainly aim at the improvement of regional policies which deal with the topics related to innovation management and competitiveness of SMEs. All SMART+ partners finished the development of the RIPs in the second semester of 2013 and thus finishing successfully all major outputs which were scheduled at the beginning of SMART+. The last few months of the project and also the time subsequent to the project is used to communicate and distribute the Regional Implementation Plans and the SMART+ Charta along with their improvements and recommendations.


Institution, Town Country Region Contact details
Aragonese Federation of Municipalities, Regions and Provinces, Zaragoza SPAIN Aragón +34 (976) 20 31 04
Aufbauwerk Region Leipzig GmbH, Leipzig GERMANY Leipzig +49 (0)341 1407790
The Malopolska Region (The Marshall Office of Malopolska Region), Krakow POLAND Malopolskie +48 12 29 90 671
Region of Western Macedonia, European Programmes Office, Kozani GREECE Dytiki Makedonia +3024610 53992
Cluj County Council, Cluj ROMANIA Nord-Vest + 40372 640085
National Association of Municipalities in Republic of Bulgaria, Sofia BULGARIA Yugozapaden +359 2 943 4467


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