In the time I have spent in my IVY adventure I have learned a lot of new things.
I managed to identify problems but also similarities between 2 regions sharing the borders between Greece and Bulgaria, that i could never have imagined, having in mind that Bulgaria was completely different in a lot of ways.
Furthermore ,the Cross Border area exhibits depopulation trends and includes businesses that are deprived and isolated in both countries, as manifested by some statistics figures for the regions. There is a trend of rising poverty rates and high unemployment rates, as a consequence of this labor market breakdown. The prevailing economic situation shows that services and financial access to agricultural producers and small enterprises is very limited across both sides of the border.
Another major problem faced by businesses in the project regions is the lack of opportunity to participate in large exhibitions, as these are organized in large urban and business centers, and there are not the available resources and human resources to take place.
Also, the project areas are not strong financial centers so they do not have such a strong infrastructure and state support.
The Interreg project “Boosting Business Support to SMEs through setting up Mobile Fair and Innovative Services in the Cross-border Territory – FAIR FOR ALL”, that I am volunteering for, can significantly contribute to the elimination of this phenomenon and enable very small companies to participate in trade fairs. The main objective of the FAIR FOR ALL project is the empowerment of entrepreneurship and SMEs providing the opportunity to participate in fairs and exhibitions without the preparation and the cost-expenses required at global exhibitions. SMEs through networking and an extrovert export strategy dramatically increase the possibility of business survival and viability.
European cross-border cooperation seeks to address shared issues in border regions that have been identified together, as well as to take advantage of untapped growth potential in border regions, by advancing the process of cooperation in order to promote the overall harmonious growth of the Union.
In conclusion,my IVY experience is unique and i would recommend it to anyone who would like to learn new things about how countries cooperate to solve mutual problems.
– Theodoros, IVY Project Partner for the Interreg project “Boosting Business Support to SMEs through setting up Mobile Fair and Innovative Services in the Cross-border Territory – FAIR FOR ALL”, under the Interreg programme Greece – Bulgaria, at Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Xanthi –