Capitalisation event on rural development: DANTE was one of the 9 projects represented

DANTE was in Brussels on 20th November 2013 on a Capitalisation event on rural development with 8 other European projects working on this thematic (Micropol, GRISI+, e-CREATE, ICER, CESR…), organized by the INTERREG IV C JTS. Following the first capitalization exercise last year, a first report integrating some Good practices of all the projects and recommendations was prepared by Mariejose Zondag and Bart van Herck, experts in rural development. The objective of this second capitalization event was to go deeper in the analysis (collecting data, networking and mutual learning among the projects), to validate the findings from the capitalization and to improve the report by integrating new recommendations and good practices.


9 INTERREG IV C projects working on 3 main areas

These 9 projects can be divided in 3 major areas:

  • Stimulating entrepreneurship and SMEs in rural area for the projects B2N (Business to Nature), Robinwood (on a participatory forest planning), ICER (on innovative policies rural tourism) and Ruraland (on diversification of rural economy)
  • Information society in rural areas for the projects e-create (e-kills of tourism related SMEs), Grisi + (on the use of GIS in rural areas) and DANTE (on the improvement of rural and mountain tourism thanks to ICT)
  • Employment, human capital and education for the projects CESR (on employment services in rural area) and Micropol (on Smart Work Centres in Non Metropolitan areas).

All these projects are dealing with some key drivers and barriers of rural development, such as: natural resources and environment quality, sectoral structure of economy, quality of life and cultural capital, infrastructures and accessibility, human capital capacity, demographic evolutions and migration, infrastructures and difficulty to have good ICT connections, sectoral structure of the economy (with a predominance of agriculture).

Main conclusions and recommendations in the capitalization report.

During this workshops, the representatives of the 9 projects have worked on the 6 main conclusions of the Capitalisation report on Rural Development:

  • All these INTERRG IV C projects are well in line with EU 2020 strategy to develop smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
  • The Smart Specialisation Strategy, that all regions have to define before the end of 2013, can be a very good way to stimulate the attractivity of the territory for young people and for new businesses.
    • Indeed, each region has to analyse its assets to define how to attract people. For rural areas, two main points are essential. First, you need to have jobs for the new comers so the economic pillar remains vital, then you need to develop some promotion and marketing about the place. ICT are here playing a key role to give the possibility to develop teleworking. Vaido Mikheim from Grisi +, presented, as an illustration, the Good Practice of Low West in Ireland, where they have developed usage of mainstream communication channels and tools (web, social media), steady work and marketing.
  • There is a need for economic diversification to resist negative trends in agriculture/rurality and industrial fabric.
    • The economic diversification can be done by small SMEs not focusing on only one sector, such as farmers, also housing guests, working in tourism as well. Another example is an holiday cottage in Gozo (Malta), where they haves developed a full range of service for their customers, such as the possibility to have a cleaning service every day, to have meals cooked by a chef, to have baby-sitting, to have a professional photograph...
    • ICTs are an essential tool to improve accessibility and allow skilled workers to work where they wish, including in remote areas. One idea to encourage the diversification of economy is to develop Smart Work Centres to have more high skilled jobs in rural areas and to increase the number of entrepreneurs. Jane Ribergaard Holm from Micropol presented the Smart Work Centre (SWC) developed in Lormes (France), where teleworkers can have access to several services (Office space, meeting room, video conferencing, technical and practical support). As 85% of these centres failed, a very large support, especially of the private companies, is needed to be sure that people will actually use this SWC and a lot of marketing to communicate on its functioning appears as a key success condition.
  • Upscale and upgrade the smaller successful initiatives through local partnerships, relations with different regions and knowledge centres involving external private actors
    • All resources are not always in the territory, so partnerships with different regions should be encouraged, especially when sub-contracting.
  • There is no radical innovation, the rural projects are more about social innovation offering practical and more effective solutions for social needs in the region
    • Bart van Herck presented the 5 levels of innovation (Valeri Souchkov) as in the below table.

Level Description
Discovery of a new principle
4 Creation of a radically new function /principle combination
3 Extending a function / principle combination to a new market
2 Quality improvement within existing function /principle / market combination
1 Quantitative improvement: simple change of a value of a parameter or optimisation

  • In all these INTERREG projects, there is no radical innovation. This is more some "social innovation" with the combination of existing elements rather than wholly new ones, or cutting across organizational or sectoral boundaries or developing new relationships between previously separate groups /individuals. The novelty is in the sector or the region or the market when the idea is implemented, it meets a social need and it answers in a more effective way to the problems than the existing solutions.
  • Thomas Ducloutrier, from ICER and CesR projects, presented the good practice of Nattitude to illustrate this social innovation in our INTERREG projects. Nattitude is a regional policy in Auvergne (France) to develop a qualitative offer of eco-responsible tourism accommodation, reflecting the image of the region. It supports the development of project through public funding and technical tools and promotion medias. It involves beneficiaries in a network which can participate to the orientation of the policy.
  • ICT is a vital tool for developing rural areas
    • DANTE, e-CREATE, GRISI+ and Micropol are working on the development of ICT. The presence of broadband, the use of new technology are key elements to attract people in the territories.

To go futher: how to give more impact to your recommendations?

The last part of the workshop was dedicated to work in groups to think about how the recommendations in the projects could have more impact. Some of these interesting suggestions could be used for DANTE: 

  • Develop a common methodology with other projects: it could be the case for DANTE and e-CREATE on their pilot action, which both link ICT and tourism.
  • Develop consolidated recommendations between several different INTERREG IV C projects to give them more strength and more impact, by showing that several partners agree. Some interesting links could be developed between DANTE, Micropol and E-CREATE for instance.
  • Have the support of opinion leaders or recognized experts
  • Have the support of European networks working on rural development such as ENRD, ELARD, Euromontana, CEJA...
  • Link your project to external stakeholders through the channels of referees, or someone who is already introduced in the place and can recommend your work. Some specific links with public and private actors could be developed. 



The INTERREG IV C JTS is planning a third capitalisation event to take place in May/June 2014 to present both to stakeholders and to the general public, the final capitalisation report, integrating the outcomes of the second year of this capitalisation exercise and the feedback collected from all the participants. The event will also be an occasion to present more in detail the future INTERREG EUROPE Programme on interregional cooperation, (which was already presented by Elena Ferrario during the DANTE mid-term conference in October2013). The draft Operational Programme will have been submitted to the EC by that date, and possible some feedback, from the public consultation, already collected.