UNLOCK: a green hydrogen economy for SMEs in Europe

  • Research project
Unlock - Interreg Europe project - EnTranCe - Centre of Expertise Energy - Hanzehogeschool Groningen

UNLOCK is an Interreg Europe project that helps policy authorities open up regional green hydrogen economies to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Europe. The aim is to promote sustainable growth, competitiveness and job creation for SMEs.

Hanze University of Applied Sciences is the lead partner of the international consortium that brings together nine partners, two associated policy bodies, and more than 60 stakeholder organisations. The project is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as one of the winning project applications in the first call of the Interreg Europe 2021-2027 programme.

Project description

The project focuses on the shared regional development issue of sustainable growth, SME competitiveness and job creation within SMEs in the rapidly developing regional green hydrogen economies.

The development of so-called green hydrogen valleys is an ambitious policy objective of the European Union, in which regional industry, together with national and regional authorities, plays the leading role, while SME participation is rather limited (with a few exceptions). Moreover, it appears that local SMEs are not prepared for or fully aware of the current transformation of an economic system to a green hydrogen economy, which threatens sustainable growth, SME competitiveness and job creation within SMEs in those regions.

However, SMEs are crucial for local economic development: job creation, growth, sustainability, social cohesion and dissemination of innovations. Governments can play an important role by anticipating undesirable developments and ensuring and strengthening sustainable growth, SME competitiveness and job creation within SMEs in rapidly changing regional ecosystems.


The project aims to reduce the differences between European regions, increase the organisational capacities of regional authorities, and improve policy instruments to promote sustainable growth, SME competitiveness and job creation in SMEs.

We want to achieve this through productive investments in rapidly developing regional green hydrogen economies. By enabling the responsible policy authorities to:

  • exchanging experiences among policy authorities and identifying good practices
  • developing new knowledge by participating in common learning activities and individual and organisational learning
  • collaborating with groups of relevant stakeholders and improving the quality of (existing) governance systems
  • gaining expertise from relevant universities
  • learn policy lessons to improve regional interventions


The project contributes by developing the organisational capabilities of European regions, fostering local green hydrogen economies, nad improving policy instruments to promote sustainable growth, SME competitiveness and job creation within SMEs. The project reduces differences between regions by enabling the sharing of experiences and good practices through individual and organisational learning, improves the quality of governance networks by stimulating engagement with groups of relevant stakeholders, and increases the organisational capacity of regions by strengthening cooperation with knowledge institutions.

See more info on the Interreg-website.

Project video

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Onze mensen

Sla over
  • Beata Kviatek

    Jean Monnet Chair in Sustainable EU Economy

    Beata Kviatek
  • Jiabao Li


    HANZE220818_Jiabao LI.jpg
  • Marije Nienhuis


  • Alina Kruizenga


    HANZE220818_Alina Kruizenga.jpg
  • Emma Vijsma


  • Oscar Risamena


    HANZE220818_Oscar Risamena.jpg
  • Jan-Jaap Aué

    Professor Energy transition

  • Antoinette Bos

    Manager Operations

  • Tjerk Jansma



Fields of interest

  • Business and Economics
  • Environment