Creating resilient rural communities in BSR based on the opportunities of digital bio businesses
eRural resilience

Why do we involve regional stakeholders in eRural resilience project activities?

24 April 2024
Technical details

The creation and involvement of Community Support Groups in the activities of the eRural resilience project is a new initiative of the project, which creates a strong base for the strategic development of the bioeconomy sector of the project’s rural regions.

Partners in each pilot area have created regional Community Support Groups that includes representatives of regional stakeholders, such as local authorities, business support centres, universities, incubators, hubs etc. A total of 7 groups operate regionally under the project framework. Even interregional groups have been formed. For example, South and Central Ostrobothnia have joint stakeholder group which consists of members from Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, member from Federation of Finnish Enterprises (South Ostrobothnia), Leader funding organization, Regional Council and Chamber of Commerce of South Ostrobothnia and Viexpo as a regional export promotion organization of Finland, also business service centres from both regions were included.

Most of the project’s partners had previous cooperation experience with different stakeholders of the local ecosystem, so it has been rather easy to motivate and invite the local and regional organizations to join the network.

The first meetings have taken place in April. As a result of the meetings, the conviction has been confirmed that regional stakeholder groups are ready to contribute both to the validation and testing of project results and solutions, as well as regionally work with various challenges and new initiatives to support and develop regional bioeconomy sector in the rural areas. In addition, project consortium considers it important to inform local and regional policy makers about project activities and solutions, to ensure interlinkage with other related initiatives and raise the sectoral competences as well as capacity of the involved institutions.

At the meetings, the participants already raised a number of sectoral topics and problem areas to be dealt with further as a network. Also question about project’s continuation and, specifically from a commercial standpoint, how the project’s actions will materialize for businesses, was raised by the South and Central Ostrobothnia stakeholder group. As one solution, for example, the group brought out to establish a commercial portal or platform that all companies could use and benefit from project main solutions.

Additionally, new project ideas pinpointed for the future, and initiatives undertaken by various stakeholders pertaining to the project’s theme were discussed in the Valmiera and Vidzeme joint stakeholder group.

“Local stakeholders have concurred that significant efforts are still required to enhance understanding of the concept of bio-business and the potential of digital technologies in fostering the development of more sustainable rural enterprises. It is imperative that throughout the project, tangible support tools are developed for both support structures and businesses, facilitating practical steps towards advancing our region’s journey towards becoming a BIO REGION” outlined Liga Veca, Board Member of Valmiera Development Agency.

All Community Support Groups of eRural resilience project consortium launched in April and regional stakeholder network will be also the key for achieving the involvement up to 250 SMEs/entrepreneurs in direct project actions.