European and interregional project “BlueConnect”
Olivier Lemaire, General Manager of AIVP, travelled to Nice on 3 December 2018 at the invitation of the Nice Côte d’Azur Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to offer his expertise on the European and inter-regional “BlueConnect” project. The Franco-Italian initiative launched in February 2017 aims to build a cross-border network of stakeholders in the economic development of ports.
Today, ports are genuine growth engines for their local territories, and SMEs need to be connected to high-potential maritime markets. The BlueConnect project promotes a better understanding of the port economy and the potential for development in the area covered by the cooperation. The main aims are to boost employment and identify ways of leveraging sustainable economic growth.
The various protagonists behind this European project, which covers six territories (three in France and three in Italy: Alpes-Maritimes, Corsica, Var, Liguria, Sardinia and Tuscany) previously collaborated over a 24 month period, in three areas:
- Analyzing the economic activities deployed in the 298 ports in the cooperation area, by creating a Franco-Italian port economy observatory which helped to identify future markets and launch a scheme to support SMEs
- Identifying challenges in three sectors:
- Cruise industry & ferries
- Goods transport and logistics
- Connecting SMEs with markets with growth potential, using innovation grants.
In this third phase, to connect high-potential Mediterranean businesses and help them to develop in the blue economy, a call for expressions of interest cop-funded by the EU was launched in April 2018. The 19 businesses selected were presented on 3 December 2018, with innovations including smart buoys, port wind turbines, solar boats requiring no sailing license, and others. The 19 businesses each received an innovation grant of €5,000.
AIVP is naturally taking a close interest in this project, the goals of which are fully in line with its new agenda for 2030 adopted in Quebec in June 2018. At the debriefing session in Nice, AIVP undertook to disseminate the findings and information about the 19 project winners throughout its international network.
To find out more about the inter-regional project: http://www.observatoire-portuaire-fr-it.eu/