The Transnational Final Event of the 4helix+ project took place on 20th October 2020 in Seville and online, gathering around 70 participants all across the Mediterranean. The Final Event was organized by the Chamber of Commerce of Seville, i.e. the Project Partner in charge of the project’s results transferring activities.
Despite the general limiting circumstances, the Final Event proved to be very successful: professionally organised and skillfully prepared up to the details, it presented a thorough yet very clear overview of the stages of the project, as well as an insightful analysis on different scales by competent speakers.
The event thus analysed the ‘before and after’ experience of the SMEs awarded with a 4helix+ €10,000 innovation voucher. In relation to the project's innovation voucher methodology, the awarded companies had words of praise: “Very positive experience, easy procedures, smooth running, great cooperation with respective pilot PPs, light bureaucracy, fruitful networking all across the Mediterranean”, was the core of their comments.
The event also provided an overall analysis of ‘before and after’ the COVID-19 outbreak, in terms of its impact on blue economy sectors such as tourism and nautical field: “Pandemic comes as a chance to redefine the tourism, to find a new orientation and a new strategy at local, regional and national level; a chance to strive at achieving quality tourism, and tourism all year long.” (Prof. Kilipiris)
“Nautical sector has achieved significant growth in the 2020 Summer months thanks to its prominent characteristic of safety that has become the main concern during the Covid-19 emergency. There is an opportunity to further strengthen the sector following this trend, and to grow all year long.” (Tio)
Barcelona/Catalonia Region presented its Government’s impressive engagement in the Blue Economy strategy and on the evolution of the Blue Economy strategy at policy level. “It is essential to include in the projects the local people and all relevant sectors; local people need to be engaged actively and they need to actually benefit from these projects.” (Sainz-Trapaga)
What was also particularly stressed is the importance of the human capital, market development for the use of innovation vouchers, and alignment with Agenda 2030 objectives.
Furthermore, ‘blue crowdfunding’ was presented as an interesting and promising tool for supporting innovation and compensating the lack of public (EU) funding for the blue economy.
The conclusion of this inspiring Final Event can be summed up with the words of Victor Soria from Barcelona Chamber of Commerce: “The Mediterranean is a source of immense opportunities but we need to take care of it, i.e. it is crucial to ensure its sustainability. Regional cooperation is not only possible but it is essential in this respect.”
Pablo Morales, Head of European Programmes at the Chamber of Commerce of Seville, closed the event by thanking all the participants for their significant contribution and by addressing to everyone a heartfelt invitation to "keep up the successful cooperation in the MED area!"