- Project Dates: From 1st April 2016 to 30th September 2018
- Project Leader: Guy Garrod
- Staff: Menelaos Gkartzios (CI), Marian Raley (RA), Amy Proctor (RA)
- Sponsors: Interreg – European Regional Development Fund
- Partners: Local Government of Nagykanizsa, Hungary; Province of Drenthe, Netherlands; Savonlinna Business Services Ltd, Finland; DELTA 2000 Consortium Company, Italy; Municipality of Medina del Campo, Span; Harghita County Council, Romania.
Innovation in rural SMEs should bring positive benefits to the rural economy. Regions in the project are struggling with a lack of employment and business opportunities because of: 1. too great a reliance on traditional activities; 2. weak cross–fertilisation between relevant sectors and stakeholders; and 3. a lack of tools to stimulate SME innovation. Opportunities for boosting the visitor economy in these areas are strongly linked to the outstanding natural and cultural assets offered by the surrounding areas. Such activities would also generate multiplier benefits in associated sectors such as agriculture, processing and service industries, resulting in the creation of new local jobs and infrastructure. This project aims to improve policies related to rural SME development through fostering the uptake of innovative solutions in the visitor economy. Using a process of knowledge exchange and stakeholder-led action planning the project will engage in a series of activities which will stimulate SME innovation and efficient capacity development in the private sector.