Irish Stakeholders Attend Interregional Workshop in Bucharest

Group Photo Bucharest

Irish stakeholders from Carlow County Council and South East Technological University (SETU) attended the 3rd Stakeholders Group Meeting, held on June 18-19, 2024, in Bucharest. This meeting marked a significant milestone in fostering collaboration among project partners and regional and interregional stakeholders. The event, hosted by the Bucharest-Ilfov Regional Development Agency (ADRBI), brought together key players from various sectors to discuss and promote innovative solutions for enhancing SME competitiveness and sustainable development.

The Bucharest Interregional Workshop featured several highlights, starting with a session on policy in SME support and advisory services. Luminița Sasu from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's General Directorate of Rural Development presented on the streamlining of administrative procedures within the National Strategic Plan 2023-2027. Mihaela Constantinescu, Executive Director of the National Credit Guarantee Fund for Small and Medium Enterprises (FNGCIMM), highlighted tools designed to enhance SMEs' access to financial support mechanisms. Raluca Coșcodaru from the Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development, and Innovation Funding (UEFISCDI) discussed the agency's efforts in empowering innovation through collaboration.

Speaking about the engagement, Brian Ogilvie from SETU said, "This workshop provided an invaluable platform for knowledge exchange and collaboration. The insights shared by experts on SME support mechanisms and innovation strategies are crucial for driving sustainable development in our regions."

Ivona Batali from the Ministry of European Investments and Projects presented on the utilization of digital assets to boost EU financial resources. Stela Serghiuta from CSR BootIQ emphasized the importance of sustainability as a strategic approach for business development. Rodica Lupu from Cluster TEC spoke about fostering competitiveness through collaborative partnerships, innovation, and digitalization within European networks. Cristian Ormindean from the Bucharest-Ilfov Regional Development Agency showcased efforts in promoting SMEs through the Enterprise Europe Network.

Speaking about the engagement, Linda Culleton, Economic Development Officer with the Local Enterprise Office, said, "The workshop highlighted the critical role of sustainable practices and digital tools in enhancing SME competitiveness. It was inspiring to see the commitment of various stakeholders to fostering economic growth and development."

The second day featured an Interregional Study Visit, offering practical insights into Bucharest's vibrant business ecosystem. Key visits included the Bucharest Chamber of Commerce and Industry for a session on accelerating SME competitiveness, Impact Hub for discussions on promoting a more conducive business environment, and NOD MAKERSPACE to explore Romania's first makerspace, a hub for makers and coworking enthusiasts. The event concluded with a Networking Lunch, providing attendees with further opportunities to establish connections and reflect on the insights gained over the two days.

Talking about the benefits of learning from others, Sarah Byrne, Business Advisor with the Local Enterprise Office in Carlow County Council, said, "The study visit was a fantastic opportunity to witness firsthand the innovative approaches being implemented in Bucharest. The lessons learned here will be instrumental in shaping our strategies back in Ireland."

The next engagement on the project is scheduled to take place in Ireland in September, where stakeholders will continue to build on the progress made in Bucharest and further enhance interregional collaboration. For further information go to InnoCom - INNOVATING COMMUNICATION TARGETED TO SMEs | Interreg Europe - Sharing solutions for better policy