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The aim of the “Efficient support services portfolios for SMEs” (ESSPO) project is to improve the regional competitiveness policies for SMEs and their engagement with innovation activities in the regions participating in the project. Еnhancement of the public services for SMEs along with improvement of the economic indicators on regional level are expected. ESSPO builds on the achievements of the successfully completed project project which developed a repository of good practices and approaches for programming, implementation and monitoring of Smart Specialisation Strategies.

The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund under the INERREG Europe Programme . Nine partner organizations from Poland, France, Spain, Germany, Estonia and Bulgaria work together. Each of the organizations examines a specific instrument on national and regional level for public support on unleashing the innovation potential of SMEs.

• Adam Mickiewicz University Foundation, Poznan Science and Technology Park, Poland (lead partner) - Portfolio of measures for improving SMEs competitiveness comprising of following measures of ROP of Wielkopolskie Voivodship 2014-2020

• European Association of Development Agencies (EURADA), Belgium - Preparation of self-assessment instrument

• North France Innovation Development - Nord-Pas de Calais RIS3, Nord-Pas de Calais ERDF Operational Program Axis 1

• ADE Agency of Innovation, Business Financing and Internationalization of Castilla y León, Spain - Portfolio of measures for improving SMEs competitiveness comprising of following measures of “2014-2020 ERDF Operational Programme of Castilla y León”:

• Municipality of Gabrovo, Bulgaria - SMEs support system for increase of SMEs competitiveness related to the improvement and implementation of the Municipal plan of development of Gabrovo

Applied Research and Communications Fund, Bulgaria - National Innovation Fund (NIF)

• Tartu Science Park Foundation, Estonia - Development Plan for City of Tartu 2013-2020

• Tecnalia Research & Innovation Foundation, Spain - Basque Country regional Operational Programme 2014-2020

• RDC Weserbergland plus, represented by District of HamelnPyrmont, Germany - Consulting SMEs in knowledge and technology transfer (KTT), Lower Saxon multifund operational programme, (EFRE/ESF) 2014-2020


The project is structured in two phases. In the phase 1 p roblem areas in the regional policies and financial instruments for enhancing the competitiveness of SMEs will be identified and s pecific solutions will be proposed . In phase 2 evaluation of the e ffectiveness of the implemented measures in practice will be made .

Project activities include:

• Preparation of a common methodology in the consortium for the evaluation of SME support instruments

• Self-assessment by the partners of the specific instrument in their region.

• Peer-review from the partners of the specific instruments in each region.

• Workshops for exchange of good practices

• Implementation of the measures by the respective public authorities

• Evaluation of the effectiveness of the measures.


ESSPO started in January 2016 and will run through to December 2020.

For more information please visit the website of the project

Contact information of the Bulgarian partner – ARC Fund:

Tel.: 02/ 973 3000

Daniela Tchonkova,
Denitsa Marinova,
Maya Tsaneva,

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