The project entitled “Empowering businesses Seeking Growth”with acronym “SeeG”, is implemented in the framework of “INTERREG V-A Greece – Bulgaria 2014-2020” Cooperation Program. The implementation period is from 26/04/2021 to 25/04/2023. The project partners are the following:

  •  Rodopi Chamber Of Commerce And Industry
  •  University Of Macedonia – Department of Business Administration
  •  Economic Development Agency Bansko
  •  Local Economic Development Agency – Razlog

The project aims to create – promote an ecosystem that favors entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs as well as to promote an environment that supports entrepreneurs (including start-ups), adapt services to their real needs, take advantage of their“wide”visibility and cultivate cooperation and networking conditions. The challenges that triggered this initiative are:

  •  lack of horizontal and personalized support services for providing guidance and support mechanisms for making the use out of funding opportunities. To be addressed through the development of an entrepreneurship support system.
  •  limited access of entrepreneurs to business know-how, as knowledge is not shared and ‘spilled over’ effect does not benefit horizontally all enterprises as it is usually limited amongst innovators. To be addressed through knowledge and knowhow exchange tools.
  •  limited access to general information and contacts, as not all enterprises have access to the same up to date information sources. To be addressed through awareness raising activities and use of informative tools and channels.
  •    lack of support services for developing competitive products-services. To be addressed through the development of an entrepreneurship support system.
  •   lack of access/know-how regarding cost saving technologies. To be addressed via horizontal and personalized support services.
  •   inadequate human development and skills. To be addressed through activities enhancing skills and capabilities on thematics relevant to entrepreneurial knowledge.
  •   lack of collaboration

The chosen approach that will be adopted involves the following pilot elements:

1. Creative exchange: use of processes (such as workshops, round tables etc.), including ‘cross-cutting’ beyond sectors, regions and / or scientific disciplines, in which possible partners – beneficiaries are invited to articulate their needs, opportunities and expectations.

2. Matchmaking: challenge of attempting to combine the stimulating interest of entrepreneurs (and to be ones) with the academic society.

3. Theory in practice: the academic society out of its usual scope of activities, that is expanding their target of audience which is normally limited down to graduates and researchers, but hardly ever to business community itself.

4. Not just publicity: use of dissemination tools, not for solely promoting the project and its results – outputs but in favor of the actual beneficiaries, by aiming to promote the ‘entrepreneurship culture’ all together to the wider public.

5. Self Confidence: inclusion of activities for building self-confidence and personal growth of those coping with the idea for creating a new business, as it seems that this a drawback factor influencing or limiting dramatically taking the next step for newcomers in business. We usually meet such type of actions included in projects and initiatives targeting unemployed and vulnerable groups, underestimating the impact that low confidence has in the decision making of an entrepreneur or of a person in the process of a business idea.

6. Flexibility: initiatives in the field of employment or entrepreneurship support services, normally follow a ‘concrete’ predefined structure, that is specified activities directed to specific beneficiaries. The proposed, in our case, grid of activities is based, however on the provision of a wide variety of activities – services to a general public, consisted of entrepreneurs, individuals in the process of starting own business, individuals wondering if they are able to do so etc. The introduction of a profiling procedure at all stages of the project’s lifecycle enables to address identified needs (of those in interest) and proceed in provision of the right mix of services. At the same time the flexibility of providing services via personalized or group sessions, enhances the achievement of better and definitely more effective results.

The main outputs of the project that will significantly improve entrepreneurship conditions on the CB area, and contribute to the main objectives of the project are:

  •  the implementation of networking actions such as round tables, business forums, thematic workshops & a partnership opportunity platform, contributing to the promotion of the transnational cooperation
  •  the development of a business growth strategic framework containing a mapping study on a CB region and at EU level best practices on matters of innovation, extroversion and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
  •  enhancing the SMEs’ support system through the development of a training material, including webinars & toolkits
  •  the implementation of trainings focusing on organization & management of SMEs with emphasis on crisis periods, viable financial management-debt recovery techniques, low cost IT efficient technologies, growth accelerators, constraint eliminators etc.
  •   the implementation of boosting business skills sessions focused on 2 main categories, upon profiling of the beneficiaries (a) promoting personal growth, self-confidence & networking skills for new or to be entrepreneurs & (b) business adaptation to new ISO standards requirements, risk analysis – management, Business continuity plan, GDPR etc.
  •   the realization of thematic workshops, including study visits, focusing on innovation management, extroversion, social economy, startups, evaluating funding opportunities, equal opportunities & non-discrimination in business, e-commerce & cyber security
  •  the development of an entrepreneurship support model including the provision of consultancy services at business level or group, personalized consultancy services & business coaching for entrepreneurs.