Project title: Innovation and export of wood and furniture in Võru County and Vidzeme Planning Region
Start and end date: 10.4.2017-30.11.2018
Current project is initiated between Võru County Government and Vidzeme Planning Region. These regions are very similar by their economic profile. Main industries of these regions are wood, food and tourism. Current project is targeted on strengthening the wood and furniture industry, as wood industry is recognized as smart specialization sector in sustainable development strategies of both regions. Wood and furniture industry in both regions is recognized as traditional industry. But there are still lot of opportunities for innovation and developing high added value products, because still at least 40% unprocessed wood, logs are exported to other countries. If we look at the statistics, economic growth can be increased, if innovations are brought in the sector and export capacity of companies is increased. To solve this problem, it is important to bring together public, private and educational/since sectors and start experience exchange not only on regional and national level, but also on international level.
Project partners have organized two meetings also with industry experts (relevant clusters and competence centres), where industry problems and potential activities to target these problems were discussed. All planned project activities are developed based on experience and opinion of both regions industry experts.
Cross-border nature of the project
The project comprises different activities, which bring together Estonian and Latvian entrepreneurs, young entrepreneurs, students and future partners in export markets. Participation in most of the events requires active networking, involvement and cooperation between Estonian-Latvian companies, thus directly contributing to the development of cross border business cooperation. While introducing Estonian-Latvian wood and furniture entrepreneurs and young people in the sector to each other, we also introduce the idea of further cross-border cooperation among companies and industry stakeholders. Aim of the cross border cooperation activities is to bring awareness of importance of cooperation to help solve different problems and challenges more effectively. As a result, bigger share of wood and furniture entrepreneurs and new businesses in Võru and Vidzeme region will be ready for cross-border cooperation during the project and after the end of it. It will support economic growth in the wood and furniture sector in partner regions.
Objective of the project
The objective of the project is to enhance cross-border cooperation in Võru County and Vidzeme Planning Region between wood and furniture sector companies to innovate industry and add value to wood and furniture products, introduce design-thinking and increase export capacity.
Activities of the project
Activities of the project are set up in logical sequence and can be divided into three themes:
- promotion and application of innovation and design in wood products development process;
- increasing export capacity (knowledge and know-how);
- creating contacts and networks in partner region and in potential export markets.
Project begins with (1) research to summarize and analyse main tendencies and opportunities of the target industry. Results of the research will help to develop and implement educational acitivities of the project.
Project will be introduced to target groups with a help of take-off event (2) Garage48, which will focus on first theme. Garage48 will be so-called hardware hackathon concentrating on wood industry challanges and its’ possibilities. It will involve participants from different target groups and backgrounds. Participants will form cross-border and cross-sectoral teams to develop over 48 hours new products or solve industries’ problems.
This will be followed by two (3) innovation and design workshops (one in Võru County and other in Vidzeme region). The focus of one workshop will be on furniture and other on wood. Target groups of the workshops are from both regions..
After the design workshop has been carried out, a (4) promotional video will be made about the regions and most innovative and design-oriented wood and furniture companies in the area. This video is meant mainly as a tool for the effective implementation of the project for both partners.
Also two (5) workshops on export will be carried out (one in Vidzeme and other in Võru region). The markets, which the workshops will focus on, will be selected based on the results of the research carried out in the beginning of the project. On the second day, more practical training about communication in specific markets will be carried out.
End of the project is focused on networking, establishing contacts and experience exchange. (6) Contact visits between partner regions’ companies will be held to introduce neighbouring companies to business leaders from the partner region – to get to know with good practices and exchange experiences in business development in the industry.
(7) Trade missions from selected export target countries are invited to visit the area. Missions will involve visits to the companies from both regions and joint networking seminars. The aim of the activity is to create real business contacts.
Most active participants of the project have an opportunity at the end of the project to (8) visit to international exhibition, which will be selected based on the results of the research. Also a seminar between our industry representatives and potential export partners will be carried out during the visit.
The Estonia-Latvia programme is one of 60 cross-border cooperation programmes that are operating along EU internal borders. The programme is funded under the goal of the European Territorial Cooperation, better known as Interreg, and aims at strenghtening cooperation among regions across the borders of Estonia and Latvia.
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