Network and community economic development
The West Pannon Non-profit Ltd. considers networking based on values and initiatives as the key to development in the fields of rural, regional and economic development. We believe that without a sense of initiative, the intention to growth, openness and cooperation, even those communities, settlements, and enterprises cannot achieve their goals effectively that have the best endowments at their disposal. However, for those organizations that make use of these opportunities properly, measurably more dynamic growth paths open up.
In each area of intervention, of course, depending on the resources available, the goals and the existing structures, different tools and foci are needed, but the aims and the process are largely the same in all cases:
- to establish motivation through effective, up-to-date means that have short-term results
- to handle challenges, obstacles present in the system: distrust, indifference, undercapitalization
- to explore the missing competences and the ones already existing in the network
- and to amplify innovativeness and creativity existing in the network, and to exploit the synergies of cooperation, and thus
- achieve growth and benefits that can be interpreted on a strategic level, as well
The company currently uses and develops this methodology in two main areas.
Clustering and cluster development
Clusters and cluster initiatives are critical actors of regional economic development across Europe. They are flexible organizations that provide their members with an environment necessary for – individually often unattainable – growth in a controlled manner. The history of Hungarian cluster development shows a fluctuating tendency, and apart from a few outstanding exceptions, it is still very much dependent on fundings. Nonetheless, recent years have established the – previously low – culture of cooperation through which cluster organizations are now capable of providing an attractive alternative to self-developed business in Hungary too.
However, the potentials of cluster cooperation need to be taken advantage of, and a number of cluster initiatives have limited toolbars at their disposal. The West Pannon Non-profit Ltd.’s purpose is twofold: to improve the capitalization and efficiency of the accessible fundings for clusters side by side, as well as to develop the cooperative competence and broaden the perspective of the enterprises and the clusters.
In this field, our main references are the following:
Funded by the INTERREG IVC program, the project took place between 2012-14, in which the West Pannon Non-profit Ltd. participated as a partner. The aim of ClusteriX was to reveal the systems of innovative cooperation among sectors and clusters, to spread cooperative cluster innovation, as well as to optimize support for clusters in this regard.
The most important results of the project are listed below:
- The Good Practice Manual collected from the nine partners (dropbox link), which includes readily adaptable solutions to numerous issues of cluster development.
- Policy Recommendations (dropbox link), which contains the most important recommendations of the partnership systematically for the effective handling of the issues examined over the course of the project.
- ClusteriX Cluster-Master Course was held in April 2014. The event was a well-balanced professional forum with forward-looking, easily adaptable international recommendations and domestic achievements, moreover, its key role in the establishment of cooperation has also made it one of the most important domestic cluster events of recent years.
- Regional Action Plan, in which we elaborate on the proposals most appropriate for the Hungarian and Western Transdanubian situation. The RAP includes the four main proposals referring to the region: the development of cluster products, the establishment of a unified, systematic analysis/development framework, the support of internationalization and the necessity of a cooperation platform
- Cluster ecosystem analysis. The West Pannon Non-profit Ltd. has adapted the analytical/problem detecting and solving methodology from Denmark to the domestic conditions, thus offering an integrated solution to the clusters’ individual problems.
- The most important domestic result of the project is the establishment of the National Association of Innovative Clusters (See below)
The ClusterPoliSEE project was the key project of the South-East Europe program in the field of clusters. The West Pannon Non-profit Ltd. worked as an engaged expert in the project with the Hungarian Economic Development Center, Cluster Development Office/Ministry for National Economy, International and Cluster Department responsible for partner and work package coordinating tasks.
Our tasks were, among others:
- on the one hand, the analysis and classification of the cluster financing schemes and strategies existing in the region’s countries, as well as the preparation of recommendations for the development of policy guidelines and practices,
- on the other hand, conducting a regional research pilot project about the past and future possible directions of the Western Transdanubian automotive industry’s clustering
The National Association of Innovative Clusters is a grassroots initiative that among the active Hungarian clusters was established in response to the demands raised during the ClusteriX project. The Association aims to gather active, collaborative clusters, and to create a platform for joint advocacy, marketing and knowledge transfer. The expert of the West Pannon Non-profit Ltd. is the current president of the IKOSZ.
Network-based regional and local economic development
A significant number of Hungarian regions does not use the potential that can be generated by cooperation. Unfortunately, the tendency shows that local initiatives are rare, and not even all of them receive enough support. The West Pannon Non-profit Ltd.’s mission is to create dynamic between the often historically dysfunctional local and regional relationships, to facilitate local cooperation initiatives, and thus contribute to the establishment of sustainable, competitive local economic networks.
The company’s experts combine many years of experience in rural, regional, and economic development in this strategic direction. We offer customized, cost-effective solutions that may equally help solve short-term specific tasks as well as implement complex strategic plans.
- Value is local – everywhere there are endowments and values waiting to be preserved, developed, capitalized that do not need to be imported. The West Pannon Non-profit Ltd. has undertaken to help raise awareness of these endowments and develop their best possible utilization.
- On a thousand roads reaching the same goal – no two situations are the same, so there are no two identical solutions either. The modular conservative methodologies never achieve optimal results. One of the axioms of community development is that the driving force must come from within, so that specific road and objective can evolve that suit the community the most.
- Development is for the community – the community needs to be the holder of cooperation and development projects. The community is familiar with its problems, and the community must also be responsible for their own future, but it can get all the support.
- "Development needs three things: motivation, motivation and motivation" – Money is very rarely the key to local development, with due cooperation, the costs – with a few exceptions – cease to be bottlenecks. However, in order to achieve this, the members of the community need to be motivated, that is they have to be willing to give time, money and energy for joint development – which will only happen if they feel the result their own.
- The balance of short- and long-term results
- Proper communication is the basis of everything – the intensity and way of communication both have changed a lot in the 21st century, its proper use today is not just important, but critical. In order for the relationship of the community development networks and the information supply to be suitable for sustainable and creative cooperation, it is essential that the participants are able to communicate with each other and the outside world.
Our main references in this field:
The E-COOP European cooperation project was funded by the INTERREG IVC program. During the 3 years of the implementation period, the partnership has conducted research on how digital equipments, solutions, public utilities contribute to the shaping of local communities, local/regional economic development. In addition to the inspiring collection of the best practices, a series of thematic publications and a policy guide were prepared that are easy to understand, and review step by step the process required for the creation of a „Digital Cooperative”.
Furthermore, an important achievement of the Hungarian implementation is the creation of the interactive methodology of the E-COOP Academy, also known as Digital Champion Training Academy that presents the potentials of challenge-based community developments and the advantages of co-created services in a three-day event.
During the project, our organization has worked closely with the National Agricultural Advisory, Educational and Rural Development Institute (now Otto Herman Institute), the owners of the domestic good practices, the Nádasdy Ferenc Museum in Sárvár (good practice: Sárvár Anno), as well as the Rábcatorok Partnership (pilot: Complete with you – Rábcatorok interactive).
The MICROPOL INTERREG IVC project dealt with the possibilities of alternative employment, examining the adaptability, sustainability, and development potential of telework and co-work centers in rural areas. During the project, based on ideas and examples implemented across Europe, we developed a scenario with the help of which settlements and micro-regions can analyze joint opportunities, attract potential users, and exploit creative capacity in order to increase competitiveness.