The ConnectSME project facilitates demonstration projects on durable technological innovations, developed by SMEs in Flanders and the Southern Netherlands. The participating test gardens offer an environment for developing and demonstrating innovating technologies, all according to a user-driven, open innovation ecosystem. SMEs can apply for vouchers, which wil get them access to advice and an opportunity to demonstrate and develop their innovation in this physical environment.
In order to achieve the European climate objectives, it's important for sustainable, technological innovations to find their way into the market more easily. A lot of SMEs developing susainable technologies in Flanders and the Netherlands experience difficulties in crossing the so-calles 'Valley of Death'. ConnectSME is especially directed towards Flemish and Dutch SMEs that want to test and demonstrate their sustainable technologies in a 'real life' environment.
Demonstration projects: living labs and clusters
Through a consortium of six living labs and two clusters, the ConnectSME project facilitates demonstration projects for sustainable, technological innovations in Flanders and the Southern Netherlands. The living labs offer an open environment to develop and demonstrate innovative technologies, all according to a user-driven, open innovation ecosystem.
SMEs can apply for vouchers, which wil get them access to advice and an opportunity to demonstrate and develop their innovation in this physical testing environment. Flemish SMEs can address three living labs in the Southern Netherlands. In return, three Flemish living labs host the Dutch SMEs.
In the first phase, 36 innovation projects are selected (six per living lab) and each one will recieve an 'in-kind' voucher with a value of €10.000. The project partners can use these 'in-kind' vouchers to fund their research activities. That way, we can analyse the impact and added value of an integrated technology in the living lab.
After this analysis, 18 company tehnologies (six per living lab) are selected for an integration voucher, with a value of €40.000. With this second 'in-kind' voucher, the 18 selected companies can get support from the project partners during the integration of their technology in the living lab. That way, pilot projects can be executed in the living lab. You can find more information on the project in the brochure at the bottom of this page or with the contacts at the participating living labs. Please note that the brochure is available in Dutch only.
On 29 October 2020, ConnectSME hosted a matchmaking event. You can find a short introduction presentation of ConnectSME at the bottom of the page. Once again, please note that this is in Dutch.
VITO/EnergyVille is the only partner coming from Limburg in this project. Within ConnectSME, VITO/EnergyVille functions as the point of contact for Thor Park. Thor Park is an international technology park, 93 ha large and a hotspot for durable technology, energy and innovation. Within ConnectSME, Thor Park wil host research, aimed towards technical and economic (market) optimisation strategies for smart charging, integrated with the energy management of the buildings.
SMEs from the Southern Netherlands that want to test and demonstrate an innovative technology for smart charging at Thor Park, can get advice from VITO/EnergyVille through vouchers. We're glad to help Flemish SMEs in their search of a Dutch test garden.
ConnectSME is one of the projects that receives funding from the Interreg V programme Vlaanderen-Nederland. From 2014 to 2020, the European Commission has made 152 million euros available for the Interreg programme. This comes through the European Fund for Regional Development for cross-border cooperation, reinforcing and promoting innovation and sustainable development in the border region. To this end, a partnership between Flanders, the Netherlands, the five Flemish provinces and the three Dutch ones has developed a programme to invest in smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.