The thematic network SPRING is formed by the four regions of:
- Great Britain, Cambridge East of England Development Agency (EEDA);
- Spain, Madrid Dirección General de Investigación - Consejería de Educación de la Comunidad de Madrid (DGI);
- Germany, Stuttgart Wirtschaftsförderung Region Stuttgart (WRS)
- Sweden, Stockholm Kista Science Park (KSP).
Objectives of the project.
In this framework the objectives of the proposed network are:
- Identifying existing good practice examples in the participating regions, that support the creation and development of innovative enterprises;
- Actively exchanging information, regional experiences, methods as well as expert and practical knowledge in order to establish a process of mutual learning leading to applicable new knowledge;
- Realising synergy potentials by co-ordinating common activities on developing measures and instruments for stimulating innovative start-ups;
- Promoting the visibility of good practice examples on a European level in order to spin-off experiences to less well of regions;
- To generate a joint body of good practice in stimulating and fostering entrepreneurship and innovation.
The project is going to draw very much on the exchange of existing knowledge and hands on practical work, no new academic studies are envisaged. The outcome must have direct implications for the strategic work of all four individual partner regions. This shall be achieved through the forming of four working groups each headed by one of the partner regions. Topics will be formulated in a way that all partner regions are attracted to join the different working groups. As an end result a handbook on innovation support will be developed.
The four partner regions will pool their competencies and experiences in the fields of entrepreneurship and innovation, thus achieving a multi competence effect. In particular, four special interest areas have been defined for in depth work:
Deals with measures how to stimulate and promote entrepreneurship. More specifically, approaches that allow the early detection of potential entrepreneurs as well as measures aimed at supporting the entrepreneur as an individual (e.g. training) and the new technology/based firm (NTBF) as an organisation will be studied. High attention will be paid to the linking of virtual and physical resources. DGI is committed to lead a working group with focus on entrepreneurship;%
(b) Intellectual Capital:
KSP is committed to lead a working group aiming at properly defining intellectual capital, operationalising it, and finding adequate measures to implement the concept of intellectual capital by providing supporting framework conditions;
(c) Spreading innovation culture:
Typically one strong leading centre dominates an entire region, in respect to reputation, to available resources, to focus of innovation policy etc. It is seen as a challenge to grow innovation value hubs besides the main centre with the ultimate objective of a multi-innovation hub region. Special emphasis will be paid to effectively linking regional and municipal initiatives. A working group will be headed by EEDA;
(d) Early stage financing:
WRS will lead a working group on early stage financing of technology/based firms. Fields of special interest include the detection of suitable subjects for financial support, the demands on the respondents of financial support, the conditions enforced, the follow up, complementary resources provided.
The four themes have strong interlinkages with each other. An aspect of joint interest for all four fields is e.g. the distribution of responsibilities between the private and the public sector. What kind of services should the public sector provide itself; in what fields should it stimulate a private market?
The following figure illustrates how the outcomes of the four working groups will be refined and used in the process of the project.