|SARA project started in August 2003 with 5 partners having complementary expertise – Thessaloniki Technology Park, Greece (Coordinator) and Eddleston Innovation Ltd., Scotland, Andalusian Institute of Technology, Spain, TTZ (Centre for Technology Transfer), Germany and ARC Fund as partners. The project duration is 30 months.
SARA’s mission is to work towards lowering unemployment by assisting it through improving the competitiveness of companies in the agro-food sector in areas of high unemployment thus following the current Community policies on supporting SME growth by innovation, clustering and regional development.
Four proven advanced tools already developed by 3 project partners (Supply Chain Management & Knowledge Tool and Cluster Building Instruments developed by EIL, Eddleston Innovation, Edinburgh, SME Networking Tool - TTP, Thessaloniki, Value Engineering Analysis - IAT, Sevill) will be integrated into a single toolbox and these techniques will be transferred to a carefully designed and supported innovation and demonstration programme in order to support SMEs networks and public agencies in rapidly diffusing the use of the integrated toolbox in the four target regions in Bulgaria (Plovdiv region), Greece (Thessaloniki), Spain (Seville) and Germany Bremerhaven. It will work ‘hands-on’ with SMEs in target regions providing advice on system integration and configuration and training in the use of the SARA toolkit.
The project will negotiate concrete process and output targets in each target region with its SME network and public agency partners. These targets will include jobs conserved, jobs created and value added by knowledge management.
At the end of the project partners expect both the SME network and the regional development agency in each beneficiary region will prepare practical plan to roll out the use of the toolkit across agro-food SMEs in their region. Over a longer time-scale, and beyond the life of the project, we anticipate that some of the revised institutional arrangements supporting new regional systems of innovation will be planned or in place.
The overall result will be an enhanced employment and economic growth in a sector crucial to the welfare of the four target regions by using the SARA toolkit.
The main output (SARA Toolkit) will be a knowledge management web-based resource specifically designed to meet the needs of SMEs and SME networks in the agro-foods sector thus strengthening rural economies; improving food quality; creating jobs and enhancing SME competitiveness.
For additional information on the project:
Mr. Angel Milev
Ms. Borislava Severova
tel.: (02) 986 7557, or fax: (02) 980 1833