Catalonia, through ACCIÓ – the Government of Catalonia’s agency for business competitiveness – is participating in two European projects in the sports and agri-food sectors with a joint budget of 12.6 million euros. Both initiatives are focused on raising finance for SMEs, are funded by the European Commission’s Interregional Innovation Investment Instrument (I3) and will have a duration of approximately 3 years.
European hub in the field of sport
The first initiative, “INSHAPE: European cross regional innovation for Sports & Active Healthy Lifestyle” focuses on creating a European innovation hub and accelerating investments in high potential SMEs in the field of sport, vitality and technology. In this way, INSHAPE aims to build new interregional value chains and promote the digitalisation of services and products. All of this will be carried out by providing support to companies in the sports sector, through financing and providing services to facilitate their access to the market in the commercialisation and expansion phases. The total budget of the INSHAPE project is almost 9.6 million euros, and it aims to reach more than 100 SMEs.
Apart from the agency for business competitiveness, 21 partners from different European regions are also involved in the initiative, including the Catalan sports industry cluster (INDESCAT) and the company Onalabs Inno-Hub. The coordinator of the project will be the Stichting Sports and Technology cluster of the Netherlands.
In this case, the project is also part of the actions promoted within the framework of the Catalan cluster strategy, with the aim of connecting the Catalan ecosystem on an international scale to promote the development of collaborative projects. Specifically, it is implemented through the Catalonia Clusters programme, promoted by the Government of Catalonia, which currently includes 27 Catalan clusters which encompass more than 2,700 companies and associated entities with a combined turnover of more than 70 billion euros.
The circular economy and innovation in the agri-food sector
The main aim of “CESAM: Circular Economy and Sustainable solutions for Agri-food in the Mediterranean” is to contribute to a circular and sustainable economy model, as well as to the objectives of the 2030 Agenda. Its actions will therefore be aimed at enhancing innovative agri-food value chains, to facilitate the introduction of new technological developments that improve the management of resources in this sector. In this regard, through the Pyrénées-Méditerranée Euroregion, coordinator of the project, support will be provided for interregional innovation and sustainable solutions and technologies in the sector through investments in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The territories involved in this initiative are Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Occitania (France).
The total budget for CESAM amounts to more than 3 million euros. As part of the project, there will be several calls for funding, one for the sum of €900,000, which will be distributed among a total of 20 SMEs. Companies will use this investment on projects based on strategic issues such as the treatment and recycling of industrial water, the design of plastic-free eco-packaging with new materials or the optimisation of circular processes and the reduction of waste.
Among the partners participating in the project are the Catalan companies Derypol, SA and the SME Go Zero Waste, SL. From the Balearic Islands, the Balearic Foundation for Innovation and Technology and the company Terracor, SAT will be taking part. On the Occitania side, the project involves Agri Sud Ouest Innovation, Newtimes and Asclepios Tech.