Falkirk has been selected to representScotlandin a pioneering cross-borders exchange initiative to help fledgling SMEs throughoutEurope.
The Interreg ‘Supporting Programmes for Young SMEs’ is a three year project that aims to strengthen and stimulate cooperation between regions in the European Union, and ultimately share good practices between participating countries.
The project will bring Falkirk together with 12 partner countries from all over Europe including Spain, Hungary, Germany, Lithuania, Poland and Belgium, who will work to exchange experience in support programmes for young SMEs and improve their survival rates.
Launched in 1989, Interreg is an initiative financed under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and will see over 1000 project participants and up to 20 events take place at each partner’s headquarters over the next three years. As the only local authority inScotland to be selected,Falkirk will play host to the initiative’s partners at an event in September 2012.
Falkirk Council was selected to be a partner in the project through its delivery of the Business Gateway Contract on behalf of the Scottish Government for the Forth Valley area. Falkirk Council also has a successful partnership with Falkirk for Business that enables businesses to receive funding advice, specialist business advice and enables local businesses to have a voice by providing the Falkirk Business panel.
The area’s economic development initiative My Future’s in Falkirk will lead on the partnership on behalf of Falkirk Council, which believes its involvement will strengthen Scotland’s contribution to the EU’s growth strategy for the coming decade, Europe 2020.
Falkirk Council’s Head of Economic Development and Environmental Services, Douglas Duff said: “Europe 2020 highlights the need to improve the environment for business inEurope, particularly for SMEs and to help them to sustain their business activity and compete globally. Our business support bodyFalkirkfor Business has been driving support and assistance to the business community for many years now, and the Interreg project will now compliment our Business Support Strategy and help us to develop this.
“The project will run till 2014, and throughout this period we will have the opportunity to share and indeed gain expertise from the existing business support structures for young SMEs in each country, and identifying the main problems that young businesses face. This is an excellent opportunity forFalkirkand we look forward to working with our European counterparts.”
The recommendations from the project will be compiled over the next three years, with the ultimate objective being to create a “European Young SMEs Support Programme” that can
be delivered acrossEurope. In a practical sense, it aims to provide a tool kit that identifies the most effective ways of delivering support in the areas of business and market
development, cooperation among SMEs, management, SMEs & local networking and ICT funding.
Douglas Duff added: “With current economic conditions remaining uncertain, support for the survival of local businesses is extremely important. We want to keep our local businesses
sustainable, to help them grow, employ and export – to help them and to ultimately benefit the economy. Our involvement in Interreg provides us with the opportunity to engage in a
new field of European trans-national activity, to establish new relationships and to learn from best practice acrossEuropeand benefit our local young SMEs.”
Note to Editors:
Interreg is an initiative that aims to stimulate cooperation between regions in the European Union. It started in 1989, and is financed under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The current programme is Interreg IVC.
My Future’s in Falkirk
My Future’s in Falkirk is an innovative economic development initiative which is transforming theFalkirk area into a diverse and modern economy and a desirable place to work, live and visit. Launched in 2002, My Future’s inFalkirk is a public and private sector partnership between Falkirk Council, BP and INEOS.
The area already makes a major contribution to the Scottish economy through its position as the hub of the chemicals industry, its extensive transportation links and its growing reputation as a tourism and leisure destination.
About Falkirk for Business:
Falkirkfor Business was formed in September 2009, merging the activities of Falkirk Enterprise Action Trust (FEAT), which has been delivering support to businesses in the Falkirk Area for over 26 years, and the Falkirk Business Panel.
Issued by Smarts on behalf of My Future’s in Falkirk
For further information please contact Lynne Hughes or Emma Diamond on 0141 222 2040 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org