Innovation is widely understood as the driving force for an economic growth. It is new products and services, and new technologies of producing, packaging or delivering them which add value to economy, and enable us to improve our standard of living. Innovations in sustainable production can make especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs) more competitive, profitable and environmentally friendly.
The Baltic Sea Region has a great R&D potential, yet the application of these innovations especially by the SMEs is still scarce. At the same time changing market conditions and numerous EC directives pose ever stricter environmental standards on SMEs, who are often unprepared to face this challenge.
Within this context, SPIN will:
o Identify eco-innovation highlights developed in the region
o Address the needs of SMEs by matching supply & demand for technical & organisational solutions
o Develop & test tools/instruments/schemes facilitating the application of sustainable innovations.
Within the project duration already SPIN will reach more than 2500 SMEs throughout the region. It will induce investment in SMEs that apply new solutions for their needs worth several €m, while Baltic innovative SMEs increase their competitiveness. SPIN will connect 200 outstanding institutions in the field of sustainable innovations in the BSR and will assemble over 1000 best practice examples in a SPIN database on innovations. It will elaborate and test a consistent transnational action plan enhancing the application of innovations throughout the BSR.
The project will focus on selected EU directives that are of particular relevance to the SMEs and create demand for sustainable innovations. They also determine the key sectors the project is focusing on as well as the innovation highlights to be promoted.
SPIN is a Baltic 21 Lighthouse Project and as such a joint effort of governments, national sector associations and transnational NGOs forming Baltic 21 (Agenda 21 for the BSR). SPIN brings together the expert institutions for sustainable innovations in the BSR and builds on the work of the Baltic 21 Industry Sector and the Baltic 21 Institute for Sustainable Industry. The partnership covers 9 organisations from 8 countries and is composed of three complementary types of PPs (public authorities, applied R&D institutes and institutions supporting practical action) sharing the same aim, i.e. the promotion of sustainable production. This set-up allows SPIN to apply an integrated political and practical approach.
SPIN is establishing concrete framework conditions and provides pilot tools at the BSR level for a strategy on the transfer of innovations from & to SMEs.
The SPIN website www.spin-project.eu (launched at the start of the project) has developed into a highly frequented information platform for SMEs, which is constantly updated and extended. In May 2010 the SPIN innovation database was launched. The database is accessible via the SPIN website and contains today some 300 datasets comprising outstanding innovations that support sustainable production from the whole BSR.
In this first year SPIN decided to focus on 4 core sectors (construction, biogas, surface treatment and wastewater treatment) and to assess the needs of the SMEs from these sectors. This formed the basis for the matchmaking on the enterprise level (e.g. through transnational joint sector/industry workshops).
In the second year the SPIN network partners started to put the matchmaking between SMEs in practice. A first series of transnational workshops in the field of specific sectoral needs identified beforehand were held. Furthermore a first set of tools have been exchanged
and relevant policy instruments were compared.
At beginning of year 3 the matchmaking between SMEs from the BSR within the SPIN project was in full swing: Numerous transnational matchmaking events were held bringing together suppliers of innovation supporting sustainable production as well as appliers of these innovations from the BSR. The 2 main matchmaking instruments of SPIN, the SPIN Database and the SPIN Toolbox, were operational and accessible via the SPIN website. Still it has remained a challenge how the demand side (the SMEs in the BSR) can be reached most effectively, as they are less homogenous than the suppliers.
In the second half of the project SPIN has made considerable progress on the policy level: The transnational synthesis report on SME needs as well as barriers and incentives for the application of innovations supporting sustainable production has been completed in period 4.
In the last period the finalization of the core policy papers of the project was coupled with an intense consultation process (outreach) with political stakeholders throughout the BSR.
The main outputs, which had not been finalized so far, were completed. Milestones of the last reporting period have been:
• The most important output of WP5, the “SPIN Strategic Actions” (recommendations for the improvement of the framework conditions of the application of eco-innovations in SMEs), was completed.
• The “SPIN Transnational Forum on Sustainable Production through innovation in the Baltic Sea Region” (final conference of the SPIN project) was held 21 – 22 November 2011 in Poznan
• The SPIN National Contact Points have formalized their cooperation beyond the end of the project signing a Network Agreement
Thus not only with view to the main outputs but also with view to the (result) indicators SPIN has reached its objectives and has promoted sustainable production the BSR.