The border region between Austria and Hungary is highly developed economically. However, innovation performance is lagging, and R&D opportunities are not fully realised.
The objective of the SMART-UP project is to tap into the area’s potential for innovation by boosting cross-border collaboration among young enterprises (less than 5-years old), by providing enterprises with:
- Individual activities such as mentoring, coaching and counselling services.
- Team activities (workshops and company visits).
- R&D action plans tailored to SMEs specific needs, which help optimize the use of research infrastructure and know-how.
- A shared system of evaluation performance, so that results can be compared.
Western Transdanubia (HU), Styria (AT) and Burgenland (AT).
The project officially started in 2018 and is co-funded by the EU through the programme “Interreg Austria-Hungary 2014-2020" (ERDF contributed circa. 866,000EUR) under the priority 1 “Competitiveness of SMEs”. It is led by Győr-Moson-Sopron County Chamber of Commerce (HU), in cooperation with two other Hungarian and four Austrian partners, including universities and chambers of commerce.
SMART-UP has helped establish an active business community of start-ups and young enterprises – Startup Pannonia – which includes 36 Hungarian and Austrian SMEs. By cooperating and creating a network of innovative minds, Startup Pannonia has had a positive impact on the entrepreneurship and startup ecosystem in this cross-border region, fostering long term innovation and increasing the companies’ chances of survival.
Young SMEs involved in the project are provided with better tools and know-how to help them create and grow their company successfully, resulting in improvements in marketing strategies, and resulting sales and financial results. The project has also equipped them with essential skills such as identifying R&D possibilities and learning how to make use of social media.
The establishment and operation of this cross-border business community for young SMEs is an innovative approach that should be replicated at European level. All the methods and activities learned during the project can be used by the partners in the long term.