Kent Science Park has made a second successful bid for INTERREG funding – an initiative to stimulate cooperation between countries in the European Union. This means that the Park will continue to represent Kent and the South East in its quest to encourage trade and link businesses in the UK and France.
As part of this second round of funding, a new project has been launched under the name of GENIE- the Growth and Entrepreneurs Network in the Channel Area. Running for one year, the GENIE project involves 14 French and UK partners, and covers all of Southern England, Brittany and Normandy.
GENIE will review previous and current INTERREG projects linked to innovation and entrepreneurship to find out why UK and French businesses aren’t developing the strong links and collaborations that are well within their reach.
The GENIE project will establish the best practices within entrepreneurship and innovation and analyse what didn’t work with projects in the past – the overall intention being to establish ways of improving cross channel collaboration in the future. Within this review, the project will also involve some consultation with businesses from both sides of the Channel to understand first hand what the barriers are and how they might be overcome. This information will then be used to pave the way for a new and improved INTERREG V, which is expected to begin in early 2015.
For KSP, the GENIE project is an opportunity to work with many new partners from both France and the UK in an effort to develop improved cross channel collaboration for businesses in the local area. At present, Kent based businesses are sometimes reluctant to do business with their French counterparts and the GENIE project will help to establish why this is and what can be done to change it. One of the most recognisable reasons for this reluctance is the communications barrier, which KSP is already combating by offering a 12-week French language course at the Park.
Richard Wheeler, Project Partner at GENIE and the Head of Business Development at Kent Science Park spoke about his excitement for the new project, “We are incredibly pleased to have secured a second round of INTERREG funding and in turn the opportunity to be involved with the GENIE project. At KSP, we want to give companies in the area the knowledge and skills that will enable them to move into the French market and grow their businesses significantly. As such, the new GENIE project is a fantastic mechanism for us to capitalise on the tools and methods used in other European projects, so we can establish the best way of doing this. This review gives us the necessary information to facilitate cross channel collaboration most effectively.”