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Building momentum
The signature of the first investment protocol in Warsaw.

The Regional Co-Operation Networks for Industrial Modernisation (ReConfirm) is the main support service of the Smart Specialisation Platform for Industrial Modernisation (S3P-Industry). Its goal is to strengthen the European value chains, with particular attention toward small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) and lagging regions. ReConfirm seeks to support industry-driven partnerships, connecting businesses from different sectors and territories and, finally, leading to strategic investments.

The partnership’s cooperation and investment plans are to be formalised with the signature of investment protocols. These past months have been crucial for ReConfirm, as they led to the signature of the first investment protocol of the ClusSport partnership, bringing a longstanding cooperation to life with concrete investment ideas. Furthering on this success, ReConfirm and the S3P-Industry will aim to support more partnership towards the realisation of investment protocols. It is essential to bring the many innovative and original ideas blooming within the S3P Industry towards concrete results.

The last month has also been very important for the Technical Assistance Facility (TAF). In collaboration with the Polish authorities, TAF supported the organisation of the Investment Day in Warsaw to present the support available for partnerships on the S3P-Industry. Projects from the S3P-Industry will be eligible to apply for additional support, notably with the mobilisation of financial experts to facilitate cross-border investment. More details are provided below.

Sport Innovation Hubs

ClusSport has signed an investment protocol to implement sport innovation hubs. The protocol is led by the South Netherlands region and supported by Lapland, Valencia, Trentino and the European Platform for Sport Innovation (EPSI). The hubs are local ecosystems involving stakeholders from government, industry, academia and civil society, with the aim of developing and transferring knowledge and technology for industrial application. The pilot will launch the Smart Vital Urban regions, which will create urban living labs to connect social and (smart) product innovation.
 
Initial investments will be between 5 and 10 million across the partner regions. The hubs are meant to offer businesses a service and infrastructure to create, test and develop innovative sports related products and services. The first phase of the project will, by the end of the year, cover activities including the development of a budget, defining scope and the preparation of further studies. The second phase will see implementation activities from January 2020 to June 2022.

TAF's first round
Since its launch in April, the Technical Assistance Facility (TAF) has already concluded its first round of applications, receiving 13 requests to join the support scheme. Applications are now being assessed. TAF will provide free-of charge financial advisory services distinctively from ReConfirm, in a separate support phase provided by the S3P-Industry. Eligible investment projects of the S3P-Industry, will benefit from assistance in developing and materialising concrete cross-border investment projects.

TAF intends to become the main support service for the third, and final, phase of the implementation of the S3P-Industry, whereby industrial stakeholders with concrete business plans can explore funding opportunities for the financing of their projects. Through the scheme, project promoters will have the opportunity to work with business, corporate finance and legal experts from leading international business experts in order to improve their business plans and boost their investment readiness.
Following the first round of applications, general feedback will be provided to all applicants. This will set the basis for the organisation of a preparatory workshop for project promoters after the summer. This workshop will aim to prepare project promoters to present applications consistent with the aim of the TAF.

Save the date: the cut-off date for the next round of applications to the TAF is set for the 31st of October.
What's new
The first workshop of the Hydrogen Valleys partnership.
Revamped brochure
The S3P-Industry’s new brochure will soon be available online on the ReConfirm webpage.
The brochure illustrates the different phases of the S3P-Industry, and explains the support services available for each one. It also includes case studies of successful partnerships.
Print-out copies are available upon request. Contact: ReConfirm@ecorys.com
 
The power of hydrogen
Earlier this year, the Juncker Commission announced six Key Strategic Value Chains to be strengthened with coordinated actions and investments. This included hydrogen technologies and systems. Last recruit of the S3P-Industry, the Hydrogen Valleys Partnership aims to support the energy transition process to reduce GHG emissions. Fuels cells and hydrogen technologies (FCH) could play an essential part in this transition.
 
The partnership seeks to increase the economic attractiveness of FCH through technological development, increasing access to information, facilitating match-making and co-investment, strengthening value chains and greening the production of hydrogen. The partnership has recently started with ReConfirm’s support and is led by the regions of Aragon (ES), Auvergne-Rhône Alpes, Normandy (FR) and the North of Netherlands (NL).
 
The first partnership workshop took place in Brussels on the 25th of June. At the meeting, the participating regions discussed the partnership’s mission and scope. ReConfirm’s team presented the mapping questionnaires that will be used in the following months for the mapping exercise. The results will be discussed in October with the launch of the thematic working groups.
 
More affiliations, more services
In addition, three partnerships have decided to join the S3P-Industry as dual affiliates from another thematic S3 Platform, namely the High-tech Farming and the Traceability and Big Data from the Agri-Food platform and the Sustainable Building partnership from the Energy platform. In this way, these partnerships will be able to request assistance to the S3P-Industry support services, i.e. ReConfirm and TAF.
Greetings from Warsaw
Interview with Sanna Kärkkäinen.
On the 13th and 14th of July, the S3P-Industry had the opportunity to reconvene at the enchanting Wilanow Palace in Warsaw for its 1st Investment Day and its 5th Steering Committee. The Investment day was an opportunity to exchange on the many possibilities for shared common regional research and innovation ideas, and to benefit from the advice of experts in various areas. The objective was to inform the different partnerships about the services available through the TAF and on how to get projects investment ready. In addition, panel discussions took place on the possibilities for financing and funding, as well as the obstacles that cross-regional projects could encounter in Europe.

The event was also the occasion in which ReConfirm’s communication team filmed four video interviews. These testimonial videos will be used for social media promotion, and feature the investment ideas that won the Turning ideas into investment initiative, which gives the partnerships an opportunity to pitch their most advanced ideas. The interviewees were the following:
Upskilling SMEs: Vocational Education and Training excellence
Developing business and projects in Europe would not be possible without ensuring the possibility for everyone to follow their vocation through appropriate education and training. SME’s can highly benefit from comprehensive training and education schemes aimed at raising qualifications and skills. In this context, initiatives aiming to recognise and celebrate people, organisations and outstanding projects are key to spread best practices throughout Europe.

The Awards for Vocational Education and Training (VET), including the European Alliance for Apprenticeships Awards and the Training at Work Award, will provide a unique opportunity to acknowledge the efforts made by European companies to foster apprenticeship schemes and apprentices. Candidates can be nominated until July 5th. The selection will be followed by an Awards Celebration event at the European Vocational Skills Week 2019, which will be held in Helsinki on 17 October in the presence of Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility.

Click here to nominate your candidates.
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