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The EC Reserach & Technological Development Project SARA "Supply Arrangements Enriching Innovation" aims at supporting European agro-food Small & Medium Enterprises become more competitive by having access to innovation and networking.

The project focuses on diffusing information on advanced management techniques and NETWORKING TOOL operating through the official project web-site Thessaloniki Technology Park / Management & Development Corporation S.A. is the coordinator of the European project SARA: "Supply Arrangements Enriching Innovation", which is co-funded by the EU in the framework of the EU Programme "Innovation & SMEs" for Research & Technological Development actions (5th FP). The project's aim is the promotion of innovation and the competitiveness increase of the European agro-food SMEs. The project's consortium consist of the following partners: Eddleston Innovation Ltd (UK), Instituto Andaluz de Tecnologia (Spain), TTZ Bremerhaven (Germany) and Applied Research & Communication Fund (Bulgaria). The main output of the project is the development of an innovative toolkit that integrates four methodologies (advanced management techniques - tools) that support agro-food SMEs in the optimization of their operation, organization & management These methodologies are: - Supply Chain Management, that is the management of all the procedures that are related to the transport of goods from raw material to consumer, aiming at the quicker distribution of the final products. The reduction of the time necessary for a product to reach the consumer is translated for the company into a significant profit gain. - Knowledge Management, that is the combination of modern management practices supported by Information Systems that are targeting the use of the company's knowledge capital for the improvement of daily operations performance and the decision-making procedures both in time and in quality. - Value Analysis, contribute to the right balance, for the companys profit, between the functions that a product / process or service offer for the satisfaction of its customers needs, and the corresponding cost for the company (function / cost). - Networking of European agro-food Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with relevant companies within Europe and worldwide. In the framework of the project the agro-food SMEs of the participating countries/regions (Greece, Spain, Germany, Bulgaria) are invited to express their interest for their participation free of charge in the piloting of these innovative methodologies. In total, 13 agro-food SMEs per country/region will be selected, three (3) of which will take advantage of the piloting results, whereas other ten (10) per country/region will be trained on the implementation of the methodologies. The pilots will take place during the 1st six months of 2005 (free of charge for the enterprises, since the project is co-funded by the EU). ALL EUROPEAN AGRO-FOOD SMEs are encouraged to participate in the "EUROPEAN AGRO-FOOD NETWORK - SARA", that has been created with the scope to support the networking of European agro-food SMEs and thus increase their competitiveness. By participating in the Network the European agro-food SMEs will have the chance to present the products / services they "OFFER" or look for those that they "REQUEST" according to their activity field and their interests. Through the Innovative SARA Network the European agro-food SMEs will be able to proceed to new cooperations with other companies in Europe and worldwide in topics that are related to: ,·Exporting or Importing of products / services,·Marketing of products / services,·Distribution of products,·Packaging ,·Raw Materials (purchase),·Research & Technological Development activities,·Trade representation ,·Technology / Know-how / Innovation,·Funding opportunities ,·Capital Investment The innovativeness of the SARA Networking tool is based on the automatic matchmaking of company «OFFERS» with the corresponding «REQUESTS» and vice versa. By this means, the development of the agro-food SMEs is enhanced and the expanding of their activities is supported by a simple, quick, effective way, without any cost. The companies are informed about the results of their offers / requests by the Network Administrator (Thessaloniki Technology Park, Greece). Further information on how to register free of charge to the SARA AGRO-FOOD SMEs NETWORK can be found on the official project web-site (select SARA Toolkit) at English, Spanish, Greek, Bulgarian version. European agro-food companies can alternatively contact the project coordinator in order to get the Networking form in a hardcopy. For further information, please contact: ,THESSALONIKI TECHNOLOGY PARK, ,Christina Nanou, SARA project coordinator,tel: +30-2310-498.203 e-mail: cnanou@thestep.grThessaloniki Technology Park,Official project web-site: