Improving COmpetences and skills through FOOD sector InNovations (I-CON)

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About the project: The I-CON project has standed out to put together food SMEs needs and solution providers, enhancing their own potentials along the food value chaing. The aim of project was to link cross- sectoral competences in design, mechatronics and labelling to food processing, in order to ncrease SMEs competitiveness and above all to create a sustainable socio-economic multiplier effect. There have been more than 200 SMEs analyzed by the partners, more than 30 good practices and solutions identified, more than 20 funding opportunities on food sector innovation collected, thanks to an effective international cooperation. Main achievements: I-CON, in line with Programme’s specific objectives has enabled the improvement of skills and entrepreneurial competences for advancing economic and social innovation in central European regions in particular in Slovenia, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Slovakia. The whole project logic has been about 2 main themes – Transnational Food Mentor Scheme (TFMS) and Crowddesign Platform (CDP). The evolution for both was about in-field survey of status quo (which are agri-food small and medium sized enterprises’ (SMEs) had needed e.g. lack of knowledge to improve their businesses/innovativeness), to develop a strategy and action plan, on how to approach these topics and the needed steps. Among the best achievements I-CON counts 18 trained facilitators in 3 topics identified as major needs by SMEs (mechatronics, food safety and labeling and package design), developed on-line tool (Atlas mapping tool) that serves as a match-making place for solution providers, SMEs with needs, where listed facilitators help to provide SMEs appropriate international solution providers and/or even try to find funding opportunities in various countries. To put in practice, I-CON implemented both themes in pilot projects. At TFMS I-CON transnational pool of experts, together with regional facilitators addressed SMEs, performed 71 (planed 50) specific on-site audits and developed 31 (among the 15 planned) distinct recommendations with ad-hoc solutions for selected SMEs. Finally, with the help of facilitators, I-CON involved almost 200 (191) actors in CDP platform and, above project targets, set indicators and managed 13 CDP cases for few companies.



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Tuesday, 7 July, 2020