How do we focus on entrepreneurship, innovation and clusters in a more gender equal way? And by doing so, what can we gain in terms of development, increased prosperity and innovation?
The EU project Quadruple Helix Central Baltic seeked the answer to these questions, experiments with interesting investment in mobile technologies and promote collaboration across borders.
Quadruple was a project where governments, universities, industry and civil society actors from Sweden, Finland and Estonia came together to strengthen business, tourism and gender equality in the Central Baltic Region.
Quadruple focused on developing small businesses in the tourism sector. Involved target groups had the possibility to participate in cross-border cluster networks and access cutting-edge research in the field of mobile technology. In practise, participants were active in a pilot test of innovative mobile phone services and ICT-applications.
Three areas of development
The project combined efforts aimed at women owned businesses in the tourism industry with efforts aimed at those involved in promoting tourism and business development, policy makers and researchers.
We aimed to focus on three areas of development:
- Gender mainstreaming in policies and practise regarding entrepreneurship, innovation and clusters
- Methods, strategies and tools for enhancing business efforts and cluster development in business sectors where many women are involved.
- Interaction between industries where many women are active as entrepreneurs and technology-based clusters. Quadruple specifically targets tourism industry and a technology cluster focusing on developing ICT-applications for the tourism sector.
Action in practice
Quadruple created working groups – E-teams – consisting of entrepreneurs and teams with tourism and business developers.
E-teams focused on specific needs of development of small enterprises in the tourism sector, on different IT applications and the approach these applications should have to boost the industry. Tourism and business developers systematized the knowledge of E-teams and focused on designing the business support structures in ways that increase the competitiveness of both enterprises and local community in the respective regions.
On the basis of knowledge and best practices of the working groups a more gender equal approach was developed for various programs promoting entrepreneurship, innovation and clusters.
The working groups met on regular basis in respective participating countries. Different joint trans-national activities like conferences, training courses, seminars, workshops, study programs and virtual meetings also took place.
Quadruple was expected to contribute to:
New trans-national networks of enterprises and business promoters
- Increased potential for growth in the tourism industry
- Developed strategies for gender mainstreaming in entrepreneurship, innovation and cluster programmes
- Better conditions for women entrepreneurs in order to benefit from business-support operations
- Developed tailor-made training programs for cluster coaches
- Creative links and interaction between actors in tourism industry and technology-based clusters
- New IT applications for the tourism industry.
Quadruple Helix project dealt with lack of gender equality in business and cluster promotion from two starting points:
- Influencing business support structures like cluster initiatives, entrepreneurship and innovation programmes by developing and implementing methods, models and tools for gender mainstreaming.
- The projects own investments into a sector where many women are active – i.e. the Tourism Industry. Quadruple gives the opportunity for small businesses to participate in the creation of a cross border cluster and a pilot study where mobile solutions are tested and developed on the basis of tourism industry needs.
QUADRUPLE partnership: Municipality of Norrtälje, BalticFem, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm County Administrative Board (all Sweden), Eurohouse, Läänemaa Tourism Association, Saaremaa University Centre (all Estonia) and Abo Akademi University (Finland).
Quadruple is funded by the Central Baltic INTERREG IV-A programme
Project period: 27 months
Total budget: € 997 299