Acronym of the project:       BALKANET, Ref. Nr. /BMP1/1.2/2469/2017

Duration:                              24 months (09.2017 ÷ 09.2019)

Priority Axis 1: Entrepreneurship &Innovation

Thematic Objective 3: Enhancing the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

Specific Objective 1.2. Innovative territories

Investment Priority 3d:  Supporting the capacity of SMEs to grow in regional, national and international markets, and to engage in innovation processes

Lead Partner:      ILIA Chamber, Pyrgos (GR)


  • Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tirana (AL)
  • University of Tirana considered an essential academic actor in scientific research for agriculture matters (AL)
  • Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Vratsa (BG)
  • Agency for Regional and Economic Development, Vratsa (BG)

Project Description

The project idea aims to improve the agro food SME’s innovation capacity facing some common challenges of BMP area. The project activities will support the innovation processes in the three different topic areas, in order to create innovative territories. BMP area shows in fact some common challenges to be solved, like outward brain/skilled innovators migration, high unemployment (especially young people), social cohesion, inability of the labour market to create new and sustainable jobs, difficulties to improve startup companies, optimize growth potential of small and medium SMEs and their transnational cooperation opportunities and competitiveness. Since agriculture is a relevant economic field of BMP area, the project relevance is mainly focused on the development of agro-food market through a transnational pilot model of local stakeholders Network (SMEs, institutions, research centers, young innovators, and civil society) and the transfer of innovative best practices. The main project’s approach in addressing the above said challenges, regards the synergy of all project WPs. With specific reference to the technical WPs, these are built with a strong complementarity to grant the growth of knowledge and common understanding of innovative business potential models in the involved areas. The new proposed solutions concern the use of digital and modern devices to guarantee that project results will be open published and freely available also outside the project area.

BALKANET project is inspired by the following three elements:

  1. the awareness that it is strategically important to facilitate innovative business models in agro-food sector of BMP area,
  2. the conviction that is important to improve transnational cooperation opportunities of the target area, it is necessary to enhance an operative Network through local SME’s and research centers with particular regard to young innovators skills,
  3. the importance of communication transferring of best practices to foster sustainable growth of the area.

General objective

The overall objective of the project is:

  • To create a pilot transnational network to favor innovation changing processes,
  • to promote applied research,
  • to support the SME’s adjustment capacity,
  • to facilitate the public/private demand supply of research and innovative business models for a sustainable growth of agro-food sector in BMP area, in line with the programme’s main objective which is “to build on shared territorial assets and promote integrated territorial development and cooperation for a more competitive and sustainable Balkan-Mediterranean area”..

The main specific objectives:

  • Identifying, analyzing and sharing of existing agro-food best practices and innovative business models valorization in the BMP area;
  • Transnational Cooperation Network between private/public research centers and local enterprises in order to improve SMEs efficiency and adjustment capacity, with particular reference to the improvement of young innovators skills and business competences;
  • Raising awareness, transferring knowledge and fostering common understanding about the importance of sustainable business innovations in agro-food sector of BMP area.

Added value & approach:

The added value of the project is to cover strategic agro-food topic areas:

  • Agriculture/farming methods and techniques,
  • Product processing,
  • Packaging and marketing.

Main activities:

  1. WP1 “Project management and coordination” that coordinate partners tasks and roles;
  2. WP2 “Project communication and dissemination” that will provide the internal and external communication strategy;
  3. WP3 “Studying, analyzing and benchmarking” that will deep the agro-food context of the involved area and will favor the exchange of best practices and knowledge between research partners and privates actors;
  4. WP4 “Creation of BALKANET Network” that will be the core phase of all the project activities enhancing the interlinking systems through local stakeholders;
  5. WP5 “Transferring of BALKANET agro-food innovations” that will regard the capitalization of the innovative experiences. All the above said activities will impact to the possibility of increase the of SME’s   innovation capacity in agro food products and processes for the competitiveness growth of the related territories.


  • The project results are:
  • Improvement of knowledge and common awareness about innovative and sustainable business models in agro food sector through the exchange and relationships between enterprises and research institutions;
  • Enhance process/product innovations for local agro-food SMEs;
  • Foster skill visibility and job opportunities for innovators through local SMEs

Expected outcomes

  • BMP agro food context analysis and benchmarking document.
  • Creation of agro food sector innovative best practices and product/processes ideas Data Base
  • Creation of local stakeholders Group Data Base
  • Project Platform Network – official website
  • Digital web service system for all subjects involved in the project and freely available for external stakeholders.
  • Creation of a Guideline document to be used by the pilot project network in order to create innovative business model.
  • Creation of a communication and marketing roadmap tool for new innovative enterprises.
  • Organization of best practices field visits in order to facilitate the knowledge transfer and the cooperation actions among local stakeholders.
  • Organization of Best Practices Sharing Meetings to improve transnational connections through SME’s, young innovators and researchers.

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