LoCPro II Objectives

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Brief History of the Project

The history of ‘LOC PRO II’ finds its roots in the successful completion of an Interreg IIIA project named ‘LOC PRO’.The hindsight from ‘LOC PRO’ made it apparent for all partners that agricultural entrepreneurs, involved in the production and commerce of traditional locally distinguished products cannot be reached on the basis of a centralized approach. Instead, in order to facilitate the primary sector entrepreneurs’ needs and potential for growth in line with the rapidly evolving environment it is needed to provide assistance and guidance, regarding optimal business processes and modern business techniques as well as ICT integration procedures, on the spot – i.e. at the place of work of the entrepreneurs.

The basic idea of ‘LOC PRO II’ remains in essence the same as the one of ‘LOC PRO’, that is the support and promotion of local and traditional products in an effort to strengthen the competitiveness of the SMEs in these rural European territories in terms of the current economic crisis as well as the continuingly shrinking primary sector.All partners worked closely together for the preparation and submission of the proposal, exchanging ideas and opinions, through the consistent management of the Lead Partner. The focal point while developing the project proposal was to bring together the previous experience from ‘LOC PRO I’ and capitalize on that in order to provide SMEs with a framework that suits their needs, while at the same time binding together Partner competences and abilities in order to enhance cross – border collaboration both in terms of partners as well as SMEs participating in the project.

Background of the project

Local distinguished/typical products refer to a wide array of products which are characterized from two main elements. The first is the essential locality of these products relevant to each intervention area. The second is the combination of quality characteristics of the specific products with the long standing history of these products. Having this definition in mind LOC PRO II seeks to further strengthen & heighten the results achieved in LOC PRO I i.e. the cross – border integration & support of the various primary sector entrepreneurs producing such typical products. Local distinguished products are part of both the agricultural economic sector, & the cultural environment existent in the intervention areas. As part of this environment they operate usually restricted within the local markets as quality & above all pure products that signify the “hack value” of the local community. Some of these products are quite strongly known in the local markets resulting to their selling to tourists that visit the area. Nevertheless in most cases access in modern retail outlets, i.e. mainly E-Commerce outlets, is almost impossible for most of these SMEs since in most of the cases they do not possess the necessary basic knowledge (in technological & marketing terms) to use & exploit these outlets for their growth. Thus, support & intervention in these key-points, i.e. technological intervention & marketing practices for the globalised market, are called upon as crucial for the sustainability & growth of these primary sector entrepreneurs, part of the living “true” competitive capital of the relevant intervention regions. Furthermore, the intervention regions Provinces of Bari & Brindisi, Regional Units of Corfu, Lefkada & Achaia are part of the main eligible intervention areas for the territorial cooperation program between Greece & Italy. Regions that exhibit a feeling of low quality of life & a small share of the primary economic sector which is every year decreasing in favour of the tertiary economic sector. A tertiary sector which however most times refers to the loutish development of tourist operations which only damage the local cultural character & do not provide in the necessary degree the support needed for these local typical products to foster. A key intervention such as this which is proposed by LOC PRO II would help the primary sector entrepreneurs to first of all learn & acquire the ability to integrate technology & marketing tools in their everyday work & secondly show them alternative ways to fend themselves against price oriented tensions of globalised consumerism by developing their own unique selling proposition & core competencies build around their products & their distinct quality features but also peripheral activities such as alternative forms of tourism & e-commerce activities that give them a stepping stone for the global market.

Objectives of the Project

"LOC PRO II main objective is: The enhanced support of entrepreneurs & enterprises producing local typical quality products, in such a manner that achieves a high degree of ICT integration in the everyday work of the entrepreneurs & the use of modern marketing tools & techniques which will foster the business’s commercial development allowing them to sustainably grow & foster drawing into the production of local quality products young high potential employees & leading the economic development of the relevant intervention areas through the effort to promote a strong local product cluster between enterprises, local bodies & research – teaching institutions.
This main objective is further broken down to sub-objectives which were used in order to outline the structure of the work packages, actions & deliverables. Thus, these second level objectives are:

  1. Τhe further enhancement & development of the LOC.PRO.I technology platform that promotes cross-border cooperation between the entrepreneurs & gives them access to privileged market intelligence & e-commerce activities.
  2. The provision to the entrepreneurs with privileged market intelligence regarding the consumers & supply chains of local typical products.
  3. Τhe cultivation of the abilities & knowledge needed in order that the entrepreneurs can integrate modern ICT & marketing tools in their everyday processes.
  4. The cultivation of positive cross-border collaboration between entrepreneurs, local bodies, & research – teaching centres in the boundaries of the intervention regions.
  5. The development & pilot operation of Regional Information Communication & Technology centres which will serve a triple role on the one hand provide a promotion outlet for local products, on the other hand provide the entrepreneurs with a regional access point to ICT & marketing knowledge & tools & finally give cross-border access to the efforts of collaboration between the different entrepreneurs & institutions. 

Expected Outputs 

The expected outcomes of the project come directly out of the relevant project objectives. LOC PRO II targets to achieve specific outcomes that correspond to & implement the project objectives is such a way that first of all the greatest number of activities is pursued in order to provide support for the entrepreneurs & the sustainability & impact of the project actions are as much as possible warranted. The main outputs of the project revolve around the enhancement & development of the LOC PRO I platform supplemented at the regional level by the introduction of R.I.C.T.s & the distance learning platform & the joint, cross-border market researches. Thus the specific outcomes of LOC PRO II are:

  1. An enhanced ICT platform (a series of interconnected portals, vortals with private & public access to the underlying databases),
  2. A distance learning platform,
  3. An inventory of entrepreneurs producing local typical produts,
  4. Joint market & supply chain researches providing privileged market intelligence to be added to the online databases,
  5. A series of optimal biological production guides for the local typical products to be added to the online databases,
  6. A series of skill building & knowledge transfer seminars as well as the production of relevant material,
  7. A series of cross – border collaboration between entrepreneurs activities such as the workshops & the participation in exhibitions
  8. A series of promotional activities rendered towards the promotion of the program & towards the promotion of the entrepreneurs such as the production of leaflets, CDs, posters, newsletters, paper & sector magazine articles, internet entries etc.,
  9. The design & pilot operation of Regional Information Communication & Technology Centres (R.I.C.T.s) as well as their cross – border communication intranet.

Expected Results

The expected results of the LOC PRO II project stem directly from its outputs. LOC PRO II actions will aid in enhancing the competitiveness in a sustainable cross – border manner in the intervention regions. LOC PRO II actions will also serve to enhance ICT & marketing tools integration in the everyday activities of the local products’ entrepreneurs. Finally the various actions will promote & strengthen the cross-border intervention policies & public bodies’ & other institutional bodies’ strategies for the sustainable development of primary sector entrepreneurs. Furthermore, directly resulting of the project outcomes the following immediate results are expected:

  1. Entrepreneurs will gain essential skills & competences so that they are able to cope with the business environment & use the modern tools available in order to grow.
  2. Entrepreneurs will gain an innovative acumen for the holistic expansion & evolution of their businesses as well as the needed motivation to move forward with innovative solution covering for the future needs.  
  3. Α vibrant working network of entrepreneurs, research institutes, & local public bodies which come together to ordain the future sustainable development of local typical products in the intervention areas.
  4. Create the prospects & the needed cross – border schemata for the local typical products sector to grow as a whole & create new opportunities for employment especially of young high quality employees with relevant backgrounds.

Additionally, it is expected that all of the above will lead to a sustainable, competitive, local economic development which can result in the enhancement of the quality of life, the reduced delay of the regions’ productive potential & the amelioration of the processes of social inclusion especially in terms of young people. Finally, the main overarching result of LOC PRO II project will be above all the enhanced support in the wide array of aspects as presented previously of the primary sector SMEs.