EUSALP Smart SMEs

Opportunities for digitalization in natural fibres value chains.

Duration
Start date: 1.8.2019
End date: 31.1.2021

Funding/Budget
Total cost: 233.588,89 EUR
Amount of ARPAF co-financing: 210.230,00 EUR

Funding: co-financed by the European Parliament through the Alpine Region Preparatory Action Fund (ARPAF)
Coordinator: Schweizerische Arbeitsgemeinschaft für die Berggebiete – SAB

Partnership:
– BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbH (Germany)
– Department for Economic Development, Research and Labour of the Autonomous Province of Trento (Italy)
– Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science University of Maribor (Slovenia)
– Anteja ECG (Slovenia)
– Hub Innovazione Trentino – Fondazione (Italy)
– Ecoplus, the Business Agency of Lower Austria (Austria)

The aim of the Smart SMEs project is to understand to what extent SMEs that produce, process and apply natural fibres use digitalization tools and approaches. The project will also evaluate obstacles that prevent SME’s from exploiting the full potential of digital solutions. An international consortium for the project has been formed, comprising the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science University of Maribor and partners from Italy, Lower Austria, Germany, Slovenia and Switzerland.

Every SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) routinely uses email addresses, but digitalization now offers enterprises a whole raft of solutions to make life easier and business more profitable – from electronic document management systems, promoting goods and services on social media to eCommerce and Big Data. Digitalization measures are only successful when company managers want and support them. SME’s, however, tend to have small management teams that are overwhelmed by other tasks, leaving them little time to identify and use the potential offered by digitalization. Businesses in rural areas have the additional problem of often unreliable internet connections.

The Smart SMEs project will contribute to finding solutions to overcome existing barriers. In addition to this, Anteja ECG together with BIOPRO, will organize and host a Policy Action Forum to bring policy makers from different sectors (digitalization, rural development and bioeconomy) together to begin sharing experiences and to validate the roadmap.

The project will be specifically focusing on enterprises in biobased value chains that produce, process and apply natural fibre-based materials, both cultivated and recycled from biological waste. The project is therefore tackling the idea of sustainable transformation in the Alpine region through the bioeconomy concept.

Project’s website

Project’s report

BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbH. (May, 2020). Smart SME’s – Mapping of actual state of play and needs, Synthesis report. Smart SME’s.

Setting mechanisms for moringa production in Uganda

A study identifying opportunities and constraints for moringa production in the refugee-hosting areas in the West Nile region, Uganda, and key success factors required to export processed moringa products locally and internationally.

This study identifies the opportunities and constraints for rolling out moringa production in the West Nile region in Uganda and key success factors required to export processed moringa products locally and internationally. It helps to identify sourcing models that bring value to private firms, the refugee hosting communities, and to the refugees themselves. It points out a viable option of rolling out commercial production and processed moringa products, including refugee hosting districts. The final report outlines investments and competitiveness initiatives needed to translate the highest market requirements into production and process capabilities needed to expand the export of moringa processed products and encourage the private sector’s engagement in refugee-hosting areas. 

Partners: VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik (DE), Research World International (UG)

Client: The World Bank Group

Date: 2020

EUSALP Transalp

Bringing the circular economy to farmers in the rural Alpine region for sustainable growth by establishing medicinal and aromatic plants value chains and supporting green infrastructure.

Duration: January 2018 – March 2019

Funding: The project is co-financed by the European Union (Alpine Region Preparatory Action Funds – ARPAF).

Partners:

  • Cluster Agency Baden-Württemberg (DE, Lead)
  • Plastic Innovation Competence Center (CH)
  • Provincia autonoma di Trento (IT)
  • Poly4EmI hosted by Anteja ECG d.o.o. (SI)
  • Bavarian State Ministry for Environment and Consumer Protection (DE)

Medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) are botanical raw materials that are used for therapeutic, aromatic or culinary purposes as components of cosmetics, medicinal or food products. There is an increasing demand for medicinal and aromatic plants thanks to an increased production of healthcare formulations. MAP’s-based supplements have a market of $35 billion p. a.

The project aims to bring the circular economy approach to farmers in rural Alpine region for more sustainable growth by establishing medicinal and aromatic plants value chains and supporting green infrastructure networks by promoting sustainable practices and awareness raising.

The main results of the project are a strategic overview on how this cross-cutting topic can work in the Alpine Space, one fully developed medicinal and aromatic plants’ value chain, proposals for upgrading skills of actors and first experiences how green infrastructure networks can work in practice.

Project’s website

Achieving circularity of plastics in Ivory Coast

The aim of the project was to develop a competitiveness strategy and action plan for the circularity of plastics sectors in Ivory Coast.

The project addressed the fundamental challenge of the CDI manufacturing sector by facilitating the implementation of competitiveness initiatives and promoting investment in higher value-added products, and integration to global value chains. 

The main objective was to develop a competitiveness strategy and action plan for plastics sectors in Ivory Coast, embedding a circular thinking approach. This involved undertaking deep-dive analysis in the priority sectors to understand market needs and the CDI positioning towards competitors.

The project provides strategic opportunities informed by markets and a circular economy approach. The project includes the attractiveness assessment of the plastics sector’s market industry in applications, such as consumer goods, constructions, agriculture and options to build a circular economy ecosystem. This entails work with the recycling sector and the eco-friendly alternatives. It focused on the formulation of private sector initiatives dedicated to enabling recycling programs and procedures in the plastics sector with applications in consumer goods, agriculture, construction, and shoes industry. This includes investments in eco design, recycling, using plastic trash for building material, packaging and plastic culture.

Client: IFC, The World Bank Group

Date: 2019

EASTRIP, developing educational programs in East Africa

The project aims to increase technical vocational education and training (TVET) programs in selected Regional Flagship TVET institutes and support regional integration in East Africa.

The proposed East Africa Skills for Transformation and Regional Integration (EASTRIP) initially involves three East African countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania. The project’s development objective is to increase the access and improve the quality of TVET programs in selected Regional TVET Centers of Excellence and to support regional integration. The project supports the development of highly specialized TVET programs at diploma and degree levels for training of technicians and TVET faculty, as well as industry recognized short-term training, targeting regional priority sectors in transport, energy, manufacturing, and ICT. The objective will be achieved through complementary interventions at three different levels: center, national, and regional.

This consultancy provided technical support to Tanzanian Regional TVET Centers of Excellence in ICT (DIT Dar es Salaam Main Campus), Agro-processing and manufacturing (DIT Mwanza Campus), Energy (Arusha Technical College) and Transport (National Institute of Transport) to prepare a five-year Strategic Investment Plan (SIP) for support by the EASTRIP and Ethiopian Regional TVET Centers of Excellence in Agriculture and Electronics. Additionally, the consultancy has the objective to contribute to capacity building of the targeted institutions and their management and academic teams. The Strategic investment plan – SIP – provides an investment program and budget for each of Regional TVET Center of Excellence covering key dimensions, namely governance and management, industry linkages, market relevant and competency based training programs, training of school managers and teachers, training facilities and equipment outreach and support for non-project national TVET. Specific attention was given to gender issues. Attention was given to strengthening the organization and management capacity of the TVET centers for the development and implementation of the SIPs. This includes (i) sharpen the program focus defined in draft SIPs, (ii) identify activities for each of six areas, (iii) revise and align corresponding budgets to the support centers, and, (iv) finalize SIPs and corresponding Annexes.

We have reviewed the current status of Strategic investment plan, engaged center management and staff in activities, defined key concepts and definitions for Regional TVET Centers of Excellence, elaborated on a stakeholder map. Furthermore, a series of interviews and focus group discussions with governmental officials and industry representatives regarding national development and investment goals was conducted and validated via Validation workshops. Needs assessment regarding skills shortages and capacity for collaboration with industry helps to design the capacity building program for Centers management and defined cooperation modalities with industry for fine-tuning of the training program.

Client: The World Bank Group

Date: 2018

Founding a Syrian-Armenian Center of Excellence (SAIZ)

A center providing technical education and training schemes in the field of manufacturing, engineering and agricultural production, focusing on women entrepreneurs.

SAIZ, the Syrian-Armenian Center of Excellence was established with the support of the Private Sector Development PSD (esp. Syrian SME). First, a needs assessment and feasibility study was commissioned by the GIZ to assess and develop technical education and training schemes in the field of manufacturing and engineering. Dedicated attention was given to training needs of women entrepreneurs. Second, a strategy plan was developed and implemented to establish SAIZ as a national recognized technical training provider in the field of manufacturing and agrofood production. VDI/VDE-IT has been appointed to run the analyses and to support the development and implement capacity building to make SAIZ operational.

Partners: Private Sector Development PSD (esp. Syrian SME), VDI/VDE-IT

Client: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Date: 2017 – 2018

Olive oil, medicinal and aromatic plants’ value chain analysis in Tunisia

This value chain analysis was part of the analytical work program, aiming to increase employment and improve competitiveness in Tunisia.

This assignment was part of the analytical work program, aiming to increase employment and improve competitiveness in Tunisia. We conducted a value chain and employment study, focusing on the North-West region in Tunisia. The value chain and employment study enabled a thorough understanding of the targeted value chains while also quantifying the nature of jobs and skills requirements along the targeted value chains, as well as the network of relationships across the chain, the opportunities and challenges companies are facing, and their strategic responses. The project generated a full mapping of all critical components of the olive oil’s and medicinal and aromatic plants’ value chain. It provided a sampling strategy that ensures relevant, robust, and representative data collection. Qualitative and quantitative surveys were conducted.

Client: The World Bank Group

Date: 2017 – 2018

Construction and tourism value chain analysis in Tajikistan

The project contributed to job creation in Tajikistan by identifying job opportunities and designing programs in tourism and construction materials’ value chains.

The project contributed to job creation in Tajikistan by identifying job opportunities and designing programs in tourism and construction materials’ value chains. The project generated a full mapping of all critical components of the specified value chain. It provided a sampling strategy that ensures relevant, robust, and representative data collection. It assessed the enterprise-level dynamics of value chain interactions, labor use, and the drivers or constraints to firm growth, investment, and job creation. This was done via a firm-level survey and complementary semi-structured interviews with main stakeholders. These activities stimulated systematic policy dialogue on the business environment and to help shape the agenda for reform.

Partners: Z Analytics

Client: The World Bank Group

Date: 2017

Project’s final report

Dermastia M., Adeishvili N., Radić D., Beknazarova G., Kasymov A. (2017). Value Chain Analysis of the Tourism Sector in Tajikistan. The World Bank.

Dermastia M., Adeishvili N., Radić D., Beknazarova G., Kasymov A. (2017). Value Chain Analysis of the Tourism Sector in Tajikistan. The World Bank.

Analysing fruit and vegetable value chains in Albania

Identifying barriers and constraints that prevent the value chains of selected fruit and vegetable products from being more competitive in the international market.

The primary objective of the project was to conduct a competitiveness assessment for the fruit and vegetable value chains in Albania. The assignment encompassed a rapid analysis of the fruit and vegetable value chains along with the identification of three priority products, a detailed industry level competitive analysis of selected value chains and selection of the most competitive products. The main goal was to identify main barriers and constraints that prevent the value chains of selected products from being more competitive in the international market. This was followed by recommendations to overcome said barriers and constraints. The assignment consisted of desk research and mobilization of a range of sources. These include export and industrial statistics, market trend analysis, benchmarking to selected comparator countries, best practices and expert opinions. Additionally, the work involved qualitative individual interviews and focus groups.


Client:
The World Bank Group

Date: 2017

Project’s final publication

Competitive Fruit and Vegetable Products in Albania

 

Accelerating internationalisation of Estonian SMEs

A project supporting Estonian SMEs to internationalise and innovate.

This project involved professionalisation of network managers in order to better support SMEs to internationalise and innovate. The project was intended to run a needs assessment and organisational diagnostics to prepare an action plan for capacity-building and for improving actions of 11 network managers. The diagnostics covered readiness for internationalisation, strategy development, service spectrum and governance. Based on the organisational diagnostic reports, dedicated actions plans and recommendations for improving actions were provided. Dedicated attention was given on how Estonian network managers can better support export and internationalisation of SMEs.

Partners: Enterprise Estonia

Date: 2017