The Malta Independent 12 July 2024, Friday
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InnovationGUIDE: A beacon for Rural Innovation Ecosystems begins its journey

Thursday, 28 March 2024, 11:16 Last update: about 5 months ago

The InnovationGUIDE project has officially kicked off with a successful launch meeting at the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM) headquarters in Istanbul. This ambitious project, comprising six entities from Turkey, the Netherlands, Spain, and Malta focuses on identifying regional needs and connecting rural innovation ecosystems to foster entrepreneurship and economic development in the regions.

With a total budget of 496,862.50 and a duration of 12 months from January 2024, InnovationGUIDE will have a focus for policymakers, researchers, and practitioners interested in promoting sustainable, inclusive economic growth in rural areas.

Funded by the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA), InnovationGUIDE will power the Pan European Countries’ rural areas by enabling innovators including deep tech and social innovation startups to take better advantage of the single market and attract new institutional investors to strengthen financial and capital markets to commercialise and scale companies in their countries.

The project is integrated by the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM), Universiteit Maastricht, Fundacion Empresa-Universidad Gallega (FEUGA), Malta College of Arts Science and Technology (MCAST) and StartupCentrum.

The involvement of Malta College of Arts, Science, and Technology (MCAST) in the InnovationGUIDE project brings a wealth of expertise and experience in promoting sustainable solutions and innovation across various sectors. With a proven track record in empowering women in agriculture and collaborating on initiatives like the Agriculture Research and Innovation Hub (AGRIHUB), MCAST has demonstrated its commitment to driving positive change in rural communities. Drawing from its involvement in projects such as the Mediterranean Island Cleantech Innovation Ecosystem (MICIE) and EIT Food, MCAST brings valuable insights into fostering research and innovation for climate and energy targets, as well as promoting sustainable food production and consumption. Additionally, MCAST's participation in EIT Urban Mobility underscores its dedication to developing innovative and sustainable solutions for urban transportation. Through its diverse portfolio of projects and expertise in vocational education and training, MCAST is poised to significantly enhance the outcomes and impact of the InnovationGUIDE project, contributing to the advancement of rural innovation ecosystems and economic development. Highlighting the pivotal role of Malta College of Arts, Science, and Technology (MCAST) within the consortium, the institution will spearhead Work Package 2, focusing on Systems Approach and Governance Analysis. Through this leadership role, MCAST will contribute invaluable expertise and insights to ensure the project's success.


The project aims to integrate networks of individuals, organizations, and institutions in rural areas collaborating to drive innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic development.

In this sense, InnovationGUIDE's motivation originates from recent situations and developments in the agriculture, fisheries, sustainable tourism, and bioeconomy sectors in the consortium's member countries. Addressing the barriers that important actors in related sectors experience in accessing innovation and contribute to rural development.


InnovationGUIDE will undertake a variety of activities, including stakeholder and common problems and needs mapping for regions and sectors, reporting on Governance Analysis focusing on innovation, development of financial sustainability plans, replication and sustainability guidelines and action plan to accelerate innovation implementation on the regional rural ecosystems. The project also plans to organize more than 8 regional events, one interregional event, and establish an Inter-Regional Innovation Assembly.

These collaborative efforts will allow the identification and development of new ideas, products, and services that address local challenges and opportunities. Recognizing the pivotal role of innovation in rural development, InnovationGUIDE is embarking on a groundbreaking journey to unravel the intricate tapestry of rural innovation dynamics.

For more information about InnovationGUIDE and its activities, please visit:

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