Connecting Rural Enterprise for a Transnational Economy

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CREATE  =  Connecting Rural Enterprise for a Transnational Economy
Using Next Generation Broadband and advanced ICT to transform the potential of North West Europe's rural SMEs
Project Status: Completed
Project Leader: Dr Caitriona Strain
EU Programme: North West Europe - INTERREG 4B
Project Budget:  €2,636,948
Start Date:  Jun, 2013
Finish Date:  Dec, 2015
Project Website: 
The aim of the project is to:

Significantly impact on the competitiveness of SMEs in peripheral parts of North West Europe by developing models of demand stimulation for Advanced ICT adoption and NGA broadband take up that can be rolled out across similar areas of Europe.

Specific objectives are to:
  • Identify at least 5 innovative techniques to stimulate demand for, take up and optimisation of advanced ICT and NGA broadband in rural SMEs by September 2013.
  • Develop and enhance the techniques identified above, adapting them into working methods and tools for use across the CREATE regions by March 2014.
  • Deliver advice and training using these tools to 650 SMEs across the CREATE regions including those in each region’s SMART Specialism by September 2015.
  • Stimulate the virtual clustering of 70 rural SMEs from across the CREATE regions and within at least 3 SMART Specialisation sectors by September 2015, thus increasing the competitiveness & export potential of the participating SMEs through collaboration and exposure to other markets.
Donegal, Ireland
ERNACT Network   (Partner)
Project partner & responsible for project communications

Dr Caitriona Strain
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Herefordshire, United Kingdom
Herefordshire Council   (Partner)
Lead Partner

Matt Smith
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Inverness & Nairn, United Kingdom
Highlands & Islands Enterprise   (Partner)
Project observer

Theresa Swayne
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Limerick, Ireland
Limerick City & County Council   (Partner)
Partner (have replaced Mid-West Region)

Majella O'Brien
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Nièvre, France
Nièvre Numérique   (Partner)
Project partner

Jean-Dimas Malot
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South West Scotland, United Kingdom
Scottish Enterprise   (Partner)
Project partner

Mairi Henderson
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West Flanders, Belgium
Voka - Kamer van Koophandel West-Vlaanderen   (Partner)
Project partner

Benedikte Tryhou
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CREATE (Connecting Rural Enterprise for A Transnational Economy) has been awarded European Funding through the INTERREG IVB North West Europe programme to develop and pilot best practice techniques to encourage small rural SMEs to take up and optimise NGA broadband and advanced ICT and to collaborate with other small rural businesses from across North West Europe.

CREATE looks to overcome the barriers to growth & competitiveness experienced by SMEs in the predominantly rural areas of North West Europe. These barriers include geographic isolation, lack of infrastructure, lack of scale, poor clustering opportunities & critically, lack of ICT expertise. Next Generation Access broadband (NGA) & advanced ICT have the potential to overcome these barriers and transform the productivity of rural SMEs. 

CREATE joins a group of like-minded organisations spanning public sector authorities, private sector representative groups and business development agencies from France, the UK, Ireland and Belgium who share the aspiration of encouraging the economic development of their regions.


Newfoundland & Labrador
South Ostrobothnia
An Gaeltacht
West Romania
San Sebastián
Derry & Strabane
United Kingdom