Danube Energy+ project tackles the need for change in regional ecosystems to support Young Innovators (YIs) in transforming their disruptive ideas into ventures. Project’s general objective is to create an enabling environment, which will support YIs to pioneer a change in the energy efficiency area by setting up highly innovative start-ups in the Danube macro-region. At the same time, it improves the competences of key regional stakeholders, particularly relevant public administrations, through intensive learning interactions with YIs.
Project’ partners (PPs)
- InnoEnergy GmbH, Germany
- Cleantech Bulgaria Foundation, Bulgaria
- ABC Accelerator, Slovenia
- Civitta, Slovakia
- PowerHUB/E-Klaster, Czech Republic
- Optimizacja, Croatia
- Startup Transilvania Center, Romania
- SEE ICT, Serbia
- Initiative Center, Uktaine
Associate project' partners (ASPs)
- Sofia TechPark JSC, Bulgaria
- Slovak Innovation and Energy Agency, Slovakia
- Slovene Enterprise Fund, Slovenia
- DEVELOPMENT AGENCY ZAGREB - TPZ Ltd., Croatia
- Regional Development Agency of Pardubice Region, Czech Republic
- iTech Transylvania Cluster part of Romanian Association for Electronic Industry and Software – Transilvania Branch, Romania
- Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications, Serbia
Regional Ecosystem’ Actors
Ecosystem actor for Danube Energy+ (DE+) project is anyone who can support the YIs in their paths to successful ventures. Regional Alliance (RA) is an enable platform for joint inclusive development, evaluation, sustainability, and networking in the Danube macro-region. Nine RAs were set up including members from (1) public administration – as key actor inside of RA - with power over policies and strategies in the field of start-up creation support, Young innovators’ support and energy efficiency entrepreneurship, (2) ASP partners as strategic partners of public administration supporting and developing regional policies, (3) Other Business Supporting Actors (BSAs), (4) Universities, (5) representatives of SMEs who successfully set up start-up in energy efficiency field or who are running business in the field.
Danube Energy+ ecosystem Package, a learning programme for the ecosystem actors is defined as set of activities, contribution to increased knowledge and understanding of young innovators needs for the ecosystem actors. These activities were implemented by each PP and included:
(1) Set of activities leading to successful implementation of the trainings scheme:
- Regional visits for identification and motivation of the YIs (10 visits per partner)
- Motivational workshops for YIs (2 workshops per partner)
(2) Set of activities following up on the training scheme implementation:
- Connecting events between YIs and regional ecosystem actors (5 events per partner)
- Regional evaluation workshop (1 per partner)
- Transregional evaluation workshop/s
- Regional visits for identification and motivation of the YIs
The PPs have carried out 84 visits, of which 20 to other ecosystem actors, 15 fair attendances, 35 visits to learning institutions, and 14 own events. The activities of regional visits were aimed at identification and motivation of the potential YIs to apply for the Danube Energy programme. Partners have pursued different actors in their visits, but common finding was that the visits themselves are not sufficient. The conversion rates were not as high as hoped. To attract the YIs, partners needed to make personal connections and, in some cases, to cajole and persuade them personally to apply.
- Motivational workshops for YIs
17 motivational workshops were carried out. Initially planned as a continuation of the visits and as more in-depth analysis, they - in some cases - have turned out into additional more in-depth visits, where the participating public was instructed on how to apply.
Connecting events between YIs and regional ecosystem actors
45 Connecting events took place in parallel and after the Training Scheme implementation. These can be considered a success, as this activity has proved to be key in reaching the project general and specific objective. After having enjoyed the programme and mentoring, the YIs have been connected with more actors that provide relevant feedback to their idea and at the same time, at least for the majority of them, this represents the learning opportunity, too. This will prevent having too much top-down policies in the future and to diversify their portfolio of policy support.
- RA members’ feedback
Danube Energy+ ecosystem Package was very relevant according to the ecosystem actors, especially for the public authorities and the SMEs (100%). They can now understand the challenges of the young innovators better (86.2%) and the programme offered them added value (91.2%). The whole experience for the ecosystem actors was summarized by a comment from Croatia on what they liked best about the programme: “Fostering new connections and offering participants chance to acquire valuable skills”. In terms of what are the areas for further improvement of the learning programme, the main point raised was the absence of the face-to-face meetings and perhaps – a bit more time.