Pomorskie regional Operational Programme

The Regional Operational Programme for Pomorskie Voivodeship 2014 – 2020 aims at increasing the competitiveness of the region, enabling each region to identify and develop its own competitive advantages by at the same time improving the living conditions of its inhabitants. The initiative involves the Free Entrepreneurship Association (INSME Member from Poland). 

The programme is one of the tools to implement the Pomorskie Regional Development Strategy 2020.

A detailed description of the Regional Operational Programme for Pomorskie Voivodeship is available here.

COUNTRY

Poland

 ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED IN THE INITIATIVE

Association Free Entrepreneurship (INSME Member)

START & END DATE OF THE PROJECT

2014 – 2020

WHO FUNDS THE INITIATIVE

Total Operational Programme budget: 2,193,896,122.00 EUR

Total EU contribution: 1,864,811,698.00 EUR

 TARGET GROUP

The target group is broad and encompasses companies (mostly SMEs, ICT companies, but also ports and off-shore industrial areas, energy sector companies); research and academic institutions; kindergartens and schools; underprivileged or marginalized people (e.g. the unemployed, people with handicaps, youth, seniors, inhabitants of devastated post-industrial areas); medical institutions and their patients, etc.

 AIMS OF THE INITIATIVE

1) Increase the share of innovative enterprises in the total number of industrial enterprises & the service sector to 13%;
2) support 3,700 enterprises;
3) create 4,000 new places in crèches and 3,000 new places in kindergartens;
4) 45,000 students participating in internships;
5) support more than 33,000 unemployed people in their search for a job;
6) upgrade 110 km of railway lines and 150 km of roads;
7) increase the share of renewable energy in the final energy consumption to 18%;
8) cover 36,000 people by flood protection;
9) increased percentage of population connected to sewage system to 86%.

(Source: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/it/atlas/programmes/2014-2020/poland/2014pl16m2op011)

 METHODOLOGY

The Regional Operational Programme for Pomorskie Voivodeship 2014 – 2020 is also tasked, among its various objectives, with urban revitalization. To achieve this, Pomorskie is using an innovative methodology based on a successful negotiation approach counting on the participation and involvement of various partner institutions, entities and communities. This includes a) defining smart specialisations, b) developing the best revitalization projects and coordinating activities in cities and their surrounding functional areas.

a) Pomorskie region has adopted a unique bottom-up approach partnership process which defines smart specialisations based on proposals made in open competition by interested business and science communities. The proposals were evaluated by experts from outside the region and abroad, with international business and research experience. As a result, the regional authorities identified four areas of smart specialization: 1) offshore, port and logistic technologies; 2) interactive technologies in an information-heavy environment; 3) eco-efficient technologies in the production, transmission, distribution and consumption of energy and fuel, and construction; 4) medical technologies for lifestyle diseases and the ageing sector.

Having selected the smart specialization fields, the regional authorities negotiated agreements with each of the communities organized around them, which defined the scope and priority research areas of a given specialization, and the principles and approach to supporting their development with public funds including the regional OP for 2014 – 2020.
The concluded agreements specify objectives, material, scope, principle of cooperation, rules for accessing financing from the EU structural funds and monitoring.

b) Pomorskie is using this “pilot” negotiation approach also to revitalize degraded areas in cities eligible for support from public funds.
Revitalisation projects follow the integrated project formula: there are two interlinked projects, one co-financed by the ESF and the other one financed by the ERDF. The implementation of such a model is facilitated by the fact that the OP 2014 – 2020 is actually a two-funded programme (ERDF and ESF). Multi-stage negotiations between 31 cities and regional authorities concern, among other issues, the delimitation of degraded areas, urban regeneration programmes and the scope of integrated revitalization projects. Funded projects will have to find specific solutions to the challenges identified for degraded urban areas on the basis of precise indicators of the social, economic and special situation. Projects will be implemented by cities with the involvement of various partners and groups, by using an approach which also involves residents and ensure a broader public participation.

The regional OP 2014 – 2020 is based on the assumption that territorial approach must be based not only on financial resources but most importantly on systematic cooperation both among neighboring municipalities as well as public authorities and entrepreneurs, NGOs and education and scientific research institutions.

In the programme, practical procedures for the beneficiaries are considered a priority. To support the negotiation approach, the region created a tool for submitting applications of project proposals, which is constantly being updated to the specific of successive competitions. They elaborated a document for beneficiaries giving all the information on how to apply for project funding, their evaluation and subsequent implementation and accounting.

(Source: Panorama Summer 2016/No.57)

 RESULTS ACHIEVED

The initiative is in progress. As for August 2018, 81% of the allocated funds have been contracted, and 17,5% of the budget has been spent by this program’s beneficiaries. Achieved results in areas related to smart specialisations include so far:

1) numerous R+D projects co-financed by loans and grants for innovative projects, with priority given to smart specialization-related projects (especially interactive technologies in an information-saturated environment),
2) over 270 co-financed investment projects by SMEs in the region, the majority of them in line with selected smart specializations, like off-shore, port and logistics technologies,
3) 440 companies participating in seminars, conferences, business missions and fairs; 107 international events promoting the region’s economy, 40 events promoting investment in the region nationally and 15 – internationally; priority given to participants representing all smart specialisations selected in the region,
4) Investments in 16 hospitals and geriatric centres in the region, in line with smart specialization focusing on medical technologies in the area of civilization and ageing-associated diseases,
5) and many others.

The above results reflect only a portion of the Operational Programme for Pomorskie Voivodeship 2014 – 2020 expected impact related to smart specialisations; the overall impact of the whole initiative is far more wide-ranging.

KEY CHALLENGES IN IMPLEMENTING THE INITIATIVE AND SOLUTIONS USED TO MITIGATE THEM

Smart specialisations require in-depth analyses by interested parties representing economic and scientific circles to support their claims on expansion and globalization potential of selected directions. With such a bottom-up approach there is a risk of neglecting other opportunities. Periodical updating of smart specialisations may mitigate this challenge.

 LESSONS LEARNED

Based on the experience gained from the 2007 – 2013 period, it must be noted that problems should be solved through actions planned in advance, based on strategic reflection. Agreements are also important to identify, prepare and coordinate priority projects increasing their chances of success.

(Source: Panorama Summer 2016/No.57)

SUSTAINABILITY OF THE INITIATIVE AND POTENTIAL REPLICABILITY

From the very beginning of the procedure for selecting smart specialisations, attention was paid to the role of private capital in the ventures and projects planned by various groups. The share of the capital will not only guarantee the greater efficiency and sustainability of implemented solutions, but will also launch mechanisms that will enable the financing of economic development after 2020, when cohesion Policy funding will be less than it is in the current programming period.

(Source: Panorama Summer 2016/No.57)

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