CONSORTIUM: Regional Development Agency of Western Macedonia S.A., Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, School of Economics, Bulgaria Economic Forum, Center for Development of Pelagonija Planning Region, Local Economic Development Agency – Razlog, Major Development Agency Thessaloniki S.A., Municipality of Dropull, Panagrotikos Association of Cyprus.

The project involves the cooperation of Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus and FYROM in order to enable joint approaches to common development issues that rural regions are facing. Specifically, they want to mitigate specific structural & socio-economic challenges, such as low income levels, lack of employment opportunities, deteriorating quality of life, depopulation processes and directly improving quality of life for the residents of rural areas.

The main goal of the project is the creation of transnational cooperation for the enhancement of entrepreneurship in rural areas for five Balkan countries through SmartRural model specialization based on the principles of innovation, sustainable economic growth & increase of wellbeing. The project seeks to achieve these objectives through the provision of technical, financial and advisory support to entrepreneurs.

Parallel, it will provide technical assistance to the rural public authorities for their managing and administrative routine and procedures in order to apply and implement a business welcome policy based on the principles of smart specialization. All these are comprised in a SmartRural development model. For local authorities and the rest of key stakeholders, the project will allow a deeper insight and access to know how, related to effective methodologies and tools for sustainable rural development. That will be achieved by establishing a business oriented transnational network and through the application of a SmartRural specialized development model in view of mitigate specific structural and socio-economic challenges.

INTERREG VB Balkan-Mediterranean