Module 10: Initiatives


european Initiatives.xls

This section will give you useful information and link to organisations or networks which support collaboration throughout Europe.

A lot of collaborations programmes or projects have been launched at regional, national and European level in order to support SMEs with contacts, information, funds and respond to general inquiries when it comes to collaboration and innovative activities. In particular you will find here the 2 major European networks, EEN and EBN, where regional nodes are representing the network in each region of Europe. They are essential contacts when SMEs do not know where to start when wanting to collaborate.

Examples of current UK initiatives are detailed below so that SMEs can see a sample of activities available to them at regional and national level. Such similar activities should be available from other European countries and the first step when inquiring about support will be to check Chambers of commerce, Industries associations, regional development agencies and other public and private sector support agencies to learn about similar initiatives.

Attach is a list of links/initiatives collected by the C2C partnership. These contacts are useful when looking for a first step towards collaboration.

We hope that you will find some useful collaboration links.


Enterprise Europe Network – Business Support on Your Doorstep

The Enterprise Europe Network, your gateway to competitiveness and innovation. Wherever you are in Europe, you can get access to all the information you need to develop your business and find the right business partners.

Regional offices are available across Europe and can be found on the website.

The European Business & Innovation Centre Network was set up in 1984 as a joint initiative of the European Commission, European industry leaders and the first pioneering Business and Innovation Centres.

EBN is now the leading non-governmental pan-European network bringing together 200+ Business & Innovation Centres (BICs), and similar organisations such as incubators, innovation and entrepreneurship centres across the enlarged Europe.

BICs are organisations which promote innovation and entrepreneurship. They help enterprises to innovate; they drive the creation of start-ups (support to innovation, incubation and internationalisation) and they promote economic development through job and enterprise creation and development.

The network is therefore an umbrella organisation bringing together over 200 BICs from all around Europe and beyond. It provides help and support to these BICs by acting as an interface with other organisations including the European Commission (which officially recognises EBN), by providing expertise in numerous areas including funding and by stimulating the sharing of best practices.

EBN follows closely the European Union Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policies and is developing ‘hub and spoke’ networking connections with the rest of the world.

UK and Ireland National and regional collaboration initiatives

MAS (Manufacturing Advisory Service) is one of the Government’s Solutions for Business suite of offerings, jointly funded by BIS (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) and the nine English Regional Development Agencies.

MAS is designed to help you, the manufacturer, streamline your processes, reduce waste, become more energy efficient and generally improve your business.   Our experienced and highly skilled practitioners all have ‘hands-on’ experience of both shop floor working and management skills.   They will work with you and your workforce to ensure that your business is run in the best way possible.   Don’t just take our word for it – read some of the case studies you will find on the website. They are about companies like yours that have discovered the benefits of MAS and are written in a language you will understand.

As you will see MAS has been a huge success since its launch in 2002.   Working with  thousands of companies it now plays a vital role in helping UK manufacturers to share knowledge, improve productivity and achieve success in an increasing competitive global economy.   To bring this service and expertise to the Scottish manufacturing industry the Scottish Executive launched Scottish MAS in 2005 in partnership with MAS. This too has grown in stature and has become a major player in Scottish manufacturing.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) is a UK-wide programme enabling businesses to improve their competitiveness, productivity and performance.

A KTP achieves this through the forming of a Partnership between your business and an academic institution (such as university, further education college or research and technology organisation), enabling you to access skills and expertise to help your business develop.

The knowledge sought is embedded into the business from the knowledge base through a project, or projects, undertaken by a recently qualified person (known as the Associate), recruited to specifically work on that project. KTPs can vary in length from 1 to 3 years (classic KTP) and from 10-40 weeks (shorter KTP), depending on the needs of the business and the desired outcomes.

KTP enables new capability to be embedded into the business and has benefited and continues to benefit a wide range of businesses across many sectors, including micro sized, small and large businesses, third sector organisations or public. helps your business save time and money by giving you instant access to clear, simple, and trustworthy information.

It is developed in partnership with subject experts within government and relevant business-support organisations to help you comply with regulations and improve your performance.

Since 2002, the RDAs have created (or safeguarded) over 500,000 jobs, created over 56,000 new businesses and brought over 5,600 hectares of brownfield land to life.

The RDAs implement this goal through focusing on the specific regional priorities that drive economic growth. They support business development and competitiveness by encouraging public and private investment, and by connecting people to economic opportunity. They work to improve levels of education, learning and skills, and do all that they can to enhance their region’s environment and infrastructure.

Their activities and projects have led to successes across the regions.

Knowledge Partners East of England (KEEP) is a three way partnership between a company, a local university and a recent graduate. It aims to help businesses achieve something different – a project where the expertise and skills of the university and a high-calibre graduate would be beneficial in the planning and implementation of the project.

Examples of how KEEP can benefit companies include:

  • to develop and implement a marketing plan for a new product
  • build a web site or integrate your databases
  • improve manufacturing processes.

KEEP projects are short-term, usually up to six months, and are aimed specifically at small and medium sized businesses. The project requires the business to make a contribution of 60% of the total cost of the project. The projects complement the Knowledge Transfer Programme run by the Technology Strategy Board which may set up projects lasting up to 2 years.

Innovation Vouchers is a unique demand-led innovation voucher scheme that invites Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to apply for a £3000 voucher to purchase academic support from one of the 13 universities in the West Midlands.

Innovation Vouchers are designed to enable small Northern Ireland registered enterprises to access knowledge and expertise to develop innovative solutions to business issues.

The programme provides a voucher of up to £4000 to enable small enterprises to engage with one of the 38 universities, colleges and other publicly funded research organisations throughout Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The Knowledge to Innovate programme is funded by the Northwest Regional Development Agency to work with small and medium sized companies based in the Northwest who recognise the importance of innovation but who require practical assistance to successfully take their knowledge and experience to the next level. Additional support is available through the Merseyside Objective 1 programme for SMEs based in the area.

The aim is to improve the levels of innovation and competitiveness within companies and build lasting innovation capacity and knowledge within the business.

Collaboration between businesses and universities | Yorkshire Forward

The network of Centres of Industrial Collaboration (CIC) is a  £11 million initiative established by Yorkshire Forward to help businesses harness the innovation and cutting edge expertise from universities within Yorkshire and Humber.

The CIC programme is currently in its fourth year of operation (2006). So far the  region’s CIC’s have worked on more than 1500 projects with business, grossed more than £38m of income and created or safeguarded 1400 jobs. The centres deliver real business solutions through short-term analysis and testing, independent validation of technology, process improvement, research and development projects, new  product development and longer-term strategic partnerships.

VEN, Virtual enterprise Network, is a business matchmaker, helping buyers to find the best suppliers for their needs and helping small and medium sized companies find the right partners to join forces with. By collaborating with each other through VEN smaller companies are able to use their collective expertise to compete with big players.

What’s more, VEN sources and matches commercial opportunities with the skills and expertise of its subscribers. We work cross-sector – and know how to help companies make the most of their skills and even break into new markets.

UK RDAs contacts

Advantage West Midlands details

  • 3 Priestley Wharf
    Holt Street
    Aston Science Park
    B7 4BN
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 380 3500

East of England Development Agency details

  • The Business Centre
    Station Road
    CB4 9LQ
    Tel: +44 (0) 1223 713900

East Midlands Development Agency details

  • Apex Court
    City Link
    East Midlands
    NG2 4LA
    Tel: +44 (0) 115 988 8300

London Development Agency details

  • London Development Agency
    197 Blackfriars Road
    SE1 8AA
    Tel: +44 (0) 20 7593 8000

Northwest Regional Development Agency details

  • PO BOX 37
    Renaissance House
    Centre Park
    WA1 1XB
    Tel: +44 (0) 1925 400100

One NorthEast details

  • Stella House
    Goldcrest Way
    Newburn Riverside
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    NE15 8NY
    Tel: +44 (0) 191 229 6200

South East England Development Agency details

South West of England Regional Development Agency details

  • Corporate Headquarters
    Sterling House
    Dix᾿s Field
    EX1 1QA
    Tel: +44 (0) 1392 214747

Yorkshire Forward details

Invest Northern Ireland details

  • Bedford Square

Bedford Street,


Tel: +44 (0)28 9069 8000 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting

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This is a great program, i would recommend this program to one and all.

Ian Sayers