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Towards the sustainable region (DQE)
Date du début: 31 déc. 2003, Date de fin: 29 juin 2007 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

The overall objective of this cooperation is to exchange experience and jointly develop new instruments and tools for competitive and sustainable development at regional and SME level. The partners aim to test and apply the “DQE Method” as a tool for integrated SME development in all participating regions. This shall increase the competitiveness of their SMEs. Achievements: This is the last progress report of our project. Therefore, we try to present what has happened in the project comprehensively. A) AIM:The main concern of DQE project is that sustainable development should be a competitiveness option for regions and businesses. It deals with the notions of competitiveness and sustainability (Lisbon Agenda and Gothenburg strategy) with the aim to 'reconcile' them, clarify the implications for SMEs and regions, and thus introduce new ways of work at SME and regional level. B) ACTIVITIES TO DATE: CP1 Project management: local and interregional management activities, according to the project plan; 8th (last) ISC took place in Shannon May 23rd 2007. CP2 Regional Operations: DQE tool was tested in 17 SMEs in 4 EU regions, and 17 new products have reached markets with positive feedback; CP2 was completed in the 6th sem. CP 3 Joint development and mainstreaming (according to interregional work groups1,2 and 3 [IWG:s]): WG1 Regional policy: (i) conceptual development: regional competitiveness was defined as a quantifiable, value adding process to a region's three development dimensions, i.e. economy, society, and environment. Therefore competitiveness is a process applied onto a context, which must be sustainable for the process to be frutiful and effective in the long run.Competitveness and sustainability are 'reconciled' in the 'area' of eco-efficiency; elsewhere, such as social inclusion or environmental rehabilitation, they may be seen to have conflicting values.To neoclassical economics these are 'externalities'. In fact they are trade offs, relfecting interdependencies, which we should use in policy making. Thus Environment can be fully 'internalised' into economic thinking. DQE tool proved crucial for promoting the eco-effiiciency performance of a region's both private and public sectors; challenge: regions need to develop the necessary knowledge resources and policies to benefit from it. (ii) mainstreaming: 5 policy apporaches were influenced by the IWG 1 findings.IWG 2 SME tools: IWG2 resulted in a revised DQE tool and further development of its application strategy; both have been mainstreamed by ANCE, Kainuun Etu, KMGNE and Shannon Development. IWG3 Knowledge management: IWG 3 was led by Athens University of Business and Economics [ASOE]. It collected feedback from the regional operations as to the knowledge gaps of the entrepreneurs. It resulted in the 'DQE course' 1 educational unit comprising 3 modules with 10 lectures. University partners ASOE, HUT, KUC, Uni Limerick and Uni Wuppertal are using these lectures. In addition DQE methodology us tested by LUT (Lappeenranta University of Technology). (iv) CP 4 Dissemination: All planned project deliverables have been met; additional dissemination: articles in the Parliament Magazine (10/2006 and 10/ 2007), IRE Conference in Shannon (May 24-25 2007) and the Open Days event in Brussels (October 9-11 2007).



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