In January 2017 the European Economic Development Society took steps towards de-centralization and established its temporary representative office in a Member State – in this case Spain.

Besides EEDS’ regular activities in the area of strategic public management in territorial development, EEDS – Spain will be focused on developing SBAREG project. The initiative is aimed to contribute for implementation of the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA) on regional level.

We chose to approach the Region of Valencia in Spain as our hosting region due to its importance for the Spanish economy. The vision of the Generalidad of Valencia for long term development is quite ambitious. By 2030 Valencia government wants to achieve the status of a South Door to the European Union for trade flows from/to  Asia and North America. The community is determined by the same year to become the territory offering the highest quality of life in the Mediterranean Region. The long term vision for regional development includes also intentions for diversification of the regional economy, ending the dependence on tourism as a main driver for growth, developing the lands which are beyond the coastal area.

This ambitious vision could be achieved if local governments are thinking big and out of the box, especially concerning their support for the local businesses also attracting new strategic players to the region. Serious test for the regional and local governments, while implementing the plan, will be the available capacity for strategic management. It will include on the one hand strategies for attracting private capital for building the critical infrastructure, like the Mediterranean Corridor connecting the whole Spanish Mediterranean Coast with France and further with  North Europe, and on the other hand – the knowledge and the will of the administration to listen to the business and the other actors in the play state .  The Small Business Act for Europe can be used as a powerful tool for securing the competitiveness of business environment, the existing economic actors and laying the ground for the new economic dimensions the community is trying to reach.

The European Economic Development Society, following the recommendations made by the European Commission for implementation of the SBA on regional level, is seeking to create a Live Lab in the Region of Valencia.  SBAREG project aims to develop a case study proving ground for building Experiential Road Map for more comprehensive implementation of the Small Business Act for Europe on regional level, which later on, combined with the good practices of some EU Regions as the Region of Wallonia,  could be used as a blue print in other European Regions.

SBAREG project is planned to be developed in 4 phases:

Phase 1: Learning about the selected region: After introduction to the region and making sure that the project idea is fully shared by the regional government and actors, launching a research of the Small Business Act implementation of the selected region in the light of the existing long-term territorial development vision, strategies, plans and activities. Building Diagnostic Report on SBA implementation in the region.

Phase 2: Communicating the Diagnostic Report to the selected region: Delivering the Diagnostic Report to the regional government and actors, discussing the current state of implementation of the 10 principles of the Small Business Act for Europe in the region, in Spain, and in Europe, delivering information about good practices developed by other EU Regions

Phase 3. Working with the selected region: Based on common understanding, delivering advisory for policy –making in the area of strategic management and SBA implementation, eventually setting up further joint steps for developing some new policy measures, assisting the region in implementing new policy measures for securing competitive environment for the economic players in the region, eventually implementing new tools and methodology for consulting the needs and supporting the  SME sector in the region

Phase 4. Wrapping up the experience built up by the Live Lab: Based on live experience during Phases 1,2,3 – building Experiential Road Map for more comprehensive implementation of Small Business Act for Europe on regional level, as an educational tool for further use


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