EURADA is part of an Interreg Europe project called SCALE UP which aims to improve policy instruments supporting SMEs’ capacity to grow in national and international markets. SCALE UP is a 3-year project (lasting until July 2022), where study visits play a crucial role. The aim of the study visits conducted within the project’s framework is to provide information about and to assess the transferability of each of the Best Practices (BPs) prepared by the partners. Six study visits were foreseen during the duration of the project, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this aspect of the project has been affected due to the restrictions and prohibitions when it comes to travelling.  

The SCALE UP consortium was forced to find a solution and after a few months of conceptualization, the project partners created its Online Study Visit methodology. This methodology drew the attention of the Interreg Europe Programme and was later recognized as a best practice which other projects can mirror in adapting to the new normal brought about by the pandemic.   

On the 9th of September, we had the pleasure to attend the first online SCALE UP Study Visit, organised by the partners from Nord Hessen (Germany).  

The study visit began with an overview of the Nord Hessen region. Later, the audience was introduced to the three BPs chosen by Nord Hessen. The first one was the MoWin Innovation Lab, which takes place on a quarterly basis and is intended for members to get their innovation professionally assessed, by presenting it in front of a professional expert panel. The objective of this initiative is to identify cooperative R&D projects through targeted networking between companies and the university to increase R&D activities. The second BP was the pilot project on Scaleup Support in Hessen. Based on the EU “startup and scaleup initiative” the Enterprise Europe Network Hessen (EEN Hessen) and the state economic development organisation Hessen Trade & Invest GmbH, started ScaleupHessen. They already had a pilot project to support scaleups wherein they came up with a few ideas and tried to understand what a scaleup is and what its needs are. The last BP to be presented was IHK Hessen innovative. IHK Hessen innovative is the innovation and technology transfer consultancy of the 10 Hessen Chambers of Commerce. They offer both pull services such as IPR and CE consultancy and push services such as the spreading of new innovation methods. Their main activities include consultancy, network organisation, technology transfer support and organisation of seminars, workshops (this last one is the sole activity that requires a fee).  

After the presentation of the BPs, the audience (consisting mainly of the project partner’s stakeholders), were given the opportunity to ask for further clarifications on the information presented. This interaction was crucial in helping the stakeholders decide on whether or not they will transfer a BP from Nord Hessen to their own region. 

In conclusion, the Nord Hessen study visit was, by any yardstick, and despite being the first one, a success. It was very well structured, and the moderators managed time efficiently enough to let everybody ask questions and stick to the time allotted. EURADA is confident that the other partners will build up their corresponding study visits on this past experience and offer events as satisfying as the Nord Hessen visit.