WP4 Employment intensive Actions

1. Training and Consulting

In order for established businesses of the eligible area to adapt to the changing needs and expectations of a highly competitive global market it is important to present them with the range of opportunities that the new digital era offers. The action will target a selection of established businesses that have characteristics compatible with the policy of smart specialization as it will be designed for each region. The companies will be either in the field of already doing cross border trade and cooperation or that has the potential to do cross border business through the policy of smart specialization. The selection will be the result of an open call that will be held through the responsible for the action PP’s and through a selection procedure that will ensure fairness and contribute effectively to the project. To the selected companies, they will be offered specialized Horizontal Consulting in Competitiveness issues and practices on exports, design management and processes and smart production methodologies by experienced consultants in their respected fields. In order to ensure the success of the action indicators of performance and output will be set in relation to the consulting that the highly experienced consultants will offer. The main components of the action will be the process of the open call for participants followed by the selection procedure and the creation of a roaster of specialized consultants that will be mostly external experts and will offer their specialized services to the companies. For the action PP3 will be the coordinator and will provide the overall oversight for the implementation of the action and will act as a supportive mechanism for all the partners that implement the action in the eligible areas in both countries. The rest of the involved PP’s will provide the smart specialization support services of the action to the established business community of their area they will be assigned to cover.

The cost that the action is divided has mostly with two processes; the first is the open call and selection process that PP3 will implement mostly with its staff and external experts and the cost of the external experts that will be needed to provide consulting services to the selected companies. The main concept for the experts is to ask from consulting companies of the market to offer work groups comprised of experts with the highest level of expertise and the broadest area of know how to cover. For the Greek side the proposed time needed to provide the services is 15 and 10 man months respectively for the two regions of Greece and 7, 5 and 7, 5 and 5 man months for the eligible area in Bulgaria. The monthly rates of the consultants are approximately 3.500 euro to 4.500 euro depending on the field and years of experience they have. In many cases it will be needed for experts to be from abroad and especially from countries that smart specialization is progressing.

2. Entrepreneurship Awards

Especially with the unemployment of the youth being at such high levels it is a European primary priority to create the environment where new companies can be created especially by young people. It is very important to offer a way out through entrepreneurship for young innovative ideas especially if it is possible for them to utilize innovative policies such as smart specialization and also to create business bonds and ventures between the two countries. The Entrepreneurship awards will offer to young entrepreneurs that have ideas taking advantage the competitive advantages of the two countries and can create multiplied value for growth and new and better jobs. The awards will be held in a cross country environment where individuals or groups from both countries will present their innovative ideas. The awards will then select the most appropriate for the objectives of the projects through an established process. The most fundamental criteria will be covering the smart specialization objectives and the Greece Bulgaria Cross Border Cooperation economic development objectives. Through the Interregional/cross border entrepreneurship awards for young researchers - entrepreneurs - innovators we will have the utilization of incubator and consulting structures that cover smart specialization priorities. The award winning ideas will be offered consulting services and assistance in all aspects of business development from accounting and law to management and funding. The host of the awards will be PP2 being the highest governmental authority covering the entire eligible area for Greece will be the overall coordinator of the action and will be the backbone of the awards for the Greek side. The scientific expertise for the action will be provided by PP4 where they will assist PP2 in the drafting of the procedures and the requirements of the awards. Also PP2 with the rest of the PP’s in the action will provide in the area they will be responsible the consulting services to the new business ventures that will take part in the process. Most Greek Partners will use external experts to perform the consulting with man month rates ranging from 3.500 euro to 4.500 euro depending on the field and years of experience they have. Contrary the partners from Bulgaria having the structures for such support will provide the services with staff they will obtain. For the Greek Partners we have a total of 78 man months offered for the covering of the awards and the consulting and in Bulgaria a total of 118 man months.

3. Mobility Know-How Transfer

Even though there is an intense mobility in the Greek – Bulgarian borders it hardly reaches the level of knowledge transfer and value added cooperation between the two countries. Through the policy of smart specialization it is important to gain access and knowledge of day to day operations of businesses in high value sectors and how both countries can benefit from it. Planning and implementation of actions for the cross border mobility of employees – entrepreneurs – researchers the LP and PP7 will publish a call for the expression of interests of individuals, businesses, researchers, universities and other target groups regarding knowledge transfer and exchange in experiences of doing business to promote cross border cooperation. To this goal several workshops visits will be organized that will transfer groups of people from both countries to businesses where highly experienced in the sector mentors will provide coaching in order to achieve know how transfer of best practices and common objectives. The visits will around twenty, ten to each country, with duration of a working week and with the attendance of an appropriate size group to be relevant and flexible. The visits will be led by highly experienced in their field mentors relevant in promoting smart specialization practices. In the framework of mobility knowledge transfer and joint ventures LP will carry out a feasibility study of an Interregional business zone and necessary supportive infrastructure. This study can act as a guide for established and future cooperation in implementing their ideas but also as a basis for the needs in funding for the next programming period. The study will cover areas in both countries and provide layers of infrastructure that exist and facilitate business and also will propose areas in both countries that can be established for the next programming period. PP1 will take into account existing experience and practices of cross border cooperation and present infrastructures promote new and innovative structures for cooperation and business development, will publish a call for the expression of interests of its members ant other target groups regarding knowledge transfer and exchange in experiences of business people to promote cross border cooperation.