Press Release on EURADA Awards 2019
5th September 2019, Brussels, Belgium
EURADA launches Awards 2019 for development agencies
Development Agencies work on pursuing the welfare of European regions and beyond. They are a designated meeting place between local actors and are key for the economic development of an area. It is important for Development Agencies to share and exchange about the work of other fellow agencies so that best practices among regions can be implemented for the benefit of all. This is the objective of EURADA Awards, organised by the European Association of Development Agencies. Its new 2019 edition is ready for candidates to apply.
A recognition of economic excellence
Development Agencies are those entities carrying out economic development missions characterized by the search of the collective or overall interest of an area not corporative or sectorial. The agencies are public entities significantly linked with a local, metropolitan or regional authority with respect to management, financing or missions.
Their actions are extremely important since the agencies cluster all the resources available for the improvement of local affairs, which means improvements of the economy at regional, national and European level. Development Agencies work on many different levels with the aim of driving the regional economy forward. They can implement new tools to solve local needs from companies, take part in European projects, collaborate amongst each other in matters of common interest and provide finance to SMEs and entrepreneurs.
The European Association of Development Agencies (EURADA) has been organizing since 2015 a search for best practices amongst Development Agencies which could be of interest for other regional economic practitioners. EURADA is a community of professionals of development and help them promote and connect successful tools, projects and programmes. In one sentence: the mission of EURADA is to give to Development Agencies recognition and projection. Please follow this link http://www.eurada.org/eurada-awards/ to find comprehensive information about the call, application requirements and examples of former winners.
Past winners come from The Netherlands, Finland, Spain and Turkey
Some of the awarded best practices refers to talent seeking and regional promotion, as for the first awardee Oost NL in 2015. This Dutch agency created an international ambassador scholarship programme specialized in Food Safety and Food Technology. In the frame of the programme young non-EU researchers could work for a year in a company within The Netherlands and then either stay in the region or come back to their original research laboratories in quality of ambassadors.
Development Agencies also are devoted to SMEs reinforcement. Kainuun Etu, the winner of 2016 edition, created a one-stop-shop able to provide immediate and effective solutions to any business related need expressed by local entrepreneurs. The Finnish agency multiplied by 3 times in less than one year the number of SMEs assisted and ensured a robust support for local entrepreneurs.
One of the 2017 awards winners, IDEPA, worked on reinforcing SMEs as well. IDEPA facilitated large companies to launch challenges on Industry 4.0 that were addressed by pilot innovative applications developed by SMEs. This Open Innovation 4.0 programme allowed SMEs to have a first recognised client for the commercialisation of their products. Development Agencies also work on finance innovative research projects, as the example of SODENA, another awardee in 2017. With the tool Orizont SODENA financially helped food business projects accelerating their deployment.
The Turkish Development Agency MARKA won the award in 2018 for their InnoTEAM programme focused on how SMEs manage innovation. The programme foresees mentoring assistance to local companies, it serves as a world-class tool to supply advanced services and mobilises local actors (mentors and universities) to ensure combined support to local companies.
Previous finalists from Italy, Slovenia, Belgium, Croatia and Romania
The agencies that have been recognised as finalist in previous editions also implement tools on how to link research and innovation and enterprises, as ART-ER did in 2017 with their tool SPARK, trying to put into effect research with a market point of view. Another relevant working field is creative economy in regions, as the award assigned in 2017 to the Slovenian development agency RRA LUR shows. The Agency from Ljubljana established the Regional Creative Economy Center (RKCE) to support this sector so as to generate a spill over effect in the cooperation with other sectors where creativity is needed.
A key task for Development Agencies is digitalisation. On the basis of this priority, Agence du Numérique was awarded in 2018, for the creation of Digital Wallonia. It is a comprehensive platform leading the digitalisation strategy of the Walloon government and gathers all digital sector information and initiatives. Digital Wallonia is a frontrunner in Europe because it established a single regional marketplace for the digitalisation. This platform could be easily transferred to another topic or sector: the green energy cluster in Wallonia already uses the same platform.
It is important that actions carried out by Development Agencies can lay the foundations for long term economic growth in their territories. In 2018 CEAGA was awarded for their initiative leading to the economic transformation of the productive ecosystem with an outstanding acceleration and consolidation programmes. This instrument can take into account the new economic trends in a traditional industry by engaging the different stakeholders and bringing practical ways for the implementation of technological innovations.
An Award given by peers
It is important for all regional economic practitioners to validate their best practices as well as disseminate them among their peers; EURADA awards are designed to deliver on this need. EURADA awards are open to both EURADA members and non-members. The evaluation criteria are related to novelty compared to current practices, potential impact and transferability within other regions and Development Agencies.
EURADA has an updated webpage with all the winners of the past awards to showcase their best practices and make them available to professionals. To sum up, in the following link http://www.eurada.org/eurada-awards/ where you can find the open call with relevant information about the application procedure interesting for any European Development Agency.
The European Association of Development Agencies (EURADA) was created in 1992. It has 27 years of experience facilitating the analysis and selection of best practices on regional economic development. EURADA gathers 77 Development Agencies from 23 countries from Europe and beyond representing 140 million of citizens . One of EURADA’s focuses is promoting cooperation among professionals by creating networks, facilitating structured exchange of knowledge with the aim to promote innovative and transferable techniques in the field of local and regional economic development. In addition, EURADA advocates the role of Development Agencies as key player for economic growth of European territories.