Regional cooperative Westerkwartier: top innovation in Europe

The regional cooperative Westerkwartier is chosen as one of the two best innovations in Europe by the European Association of Development Agencies (EURADA). This is a great compliment for this ambitious project closely connected to the Hanze University of Applied Sciences (Hanze UAS).
On Wednesday 28 November EURADA will present these results to Member of the European Parliament Lambert van Nistelrooij during the Innovation Summit K4I in Brussels.

Regional development for SMEs

EURADA is a network of 81 members throughout 23 countries in the European Union and beyond. EURADA collected over 50 best-practices on the key policy areas: social innovation, stimuli on the entrepreneurial discovery process and comprehensive measures to support portfolios for SMEs. The regional cooperative was selected as one of the best innovations in Europe because it had a high score on innovation, transferability, sustainability, impact on regional level, quadruple helix and multi-stakeholder approaches. There is an intensive collaboration between education, research, governmental organisations and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

A new model for cooperative entrepreneurship

The research group sustainable cooperative entrepreneurship of Hanze UAS is the cofounder of the regional cooperative Westerkwartier. Students and researchers play a crucial role in the sharing of knowledge and innovative entrepreneurship. The government participates as a facilitator in the process of a regional cooperative. In this new model for cooperatives companies work together in multiple sectors, not just one which was the case in the early days of, for example, a dairy cooperative. This contributes to the development of an innovative eco system in which all parties are closely connected. With the purpose of establishing social economic growth in the region.

The future

EURADA will draw an informative canvas about the regional cooperative Westerkwartier and will share this extensively with other regions in Europe through their network so others can learn from us and make use of the successful approach of the regional cooperative Westerkwartier.

Hanze University of Applied Sciences will continue to develop the cooperative model by the research group sustainable cooperative entrepreneurship of the Marian van Os Centre for Entrepreneurship. Professor Willem Foorthuis works on research programmes, national and international projects and living labs to further strengthen the region socially and economically.

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