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Scale Up's commitment to improve policy instruments supporting SMEs’ capacity to growth in national and international markets was reflected once more on February 24, when it actively participated in the EU Industry Days through the organization of the event “Scaling Up SMEs in the midst of Corona”.

The webinar opened with a speech from a European Commission representative followed by 5 presentations of different Interreg Europe projects that all aim for the growth and development of SMEs. The presentations of these projects perfectly complemented points raised by the event’s keynote speaker.

Mr. José Blanquez, from the Commission's Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs -DG Grow-, made the Keynote Speech. He explained the three pillars of the new European SME strategy, namely digitalization and sustainability, access to finance, cutting red tape and tapping into markets.

Although this SME strategy was developed before the pandemic, the Commission has responded with an unprecedented plan with the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the Next Generation EU 2021-2027, where SMEs are the engine of the recovery. The participants then learned more about the Scale Up Project thanks to the presentation of Ms. Maripaz López from INFO Murcia. She spoke about the concentration and robustness of SMEs within the EU Industrial Policy. She showcased Scale Up´s contribution to European competitiveness and the acceleration of regional economic growth through the presentations of its best practices, among which we can highlight To end the first part of the webinar, Mr. José Carlos García, from CEEI Cartagena, described the work of Foundation Project. He explained how Foundation bolsters SMEs through the creation of innovation ecosystems. These ecosystems are used to understand the challenges for SME birth, development and growth, the generation of interaction between stakeholders of the quadruple helix for sustainable SME competitiveness and the development of effective policies to build regional resilience to industrial structural change.

The second phase of the event consisted of a roundtable where three different Interreg projects covering the topic of SMEs were presented: ACSELL, SIE and 40 READY.

In the first place, Ms. Sandra Evans exhibited the ACSELL Project, whose aim is to sensitive the public sector, innovation intermediaries and SMEs towards expanding SME competencies by promoting open innovation ecosystems and integrating the user with a living lab approach. The Living Labs are user-centred, open innovation ecosystems based on a systematic user co-creation approach integrating research and innovation processes in real life communities and settings.

Secondly, the SIE Project was presented by Mr. Steve Samson, who explained the tips with which the project increases SME internationalization capacity and improves SME internationalization support. The international trade can help SMEs to become more innovative and productive, to find new markets, customer, sales, to spread risk and to help extend the ‘shelf life’ of products and services; but it is complicated and the digital skills gap must be addressed as a priority in order to achieve SMEs internationalization.

Finally, Mr. Lorenzo Sabatini explained the 4.0 READY project. He discussed the importance of strengthening SMEs capacities to engage in Industry 4.0, in particular, improving the implementation of regional development policies and programs about European Territorial Cooperation.

Thanks to the participation of these specialists in the European economy, we were able to better understand the current situation of SMEs and it allowed us to know the great work that European projects are doing to small and medium-sized companies.

If you are interested on the event, by clicking here you can see the recording of the webinar.