Africa-EU relations, migration, development and integration

The Africa-EU relations, migration, development and integration (AEMDI) project, aims to bring into conversation leading academics, policy makers, political observers and practitioners from civil society to explore and examine intra-Africa migration on one hand and EU-Africa relationships vis-à-vis migration on the other hand. Efforts to integrate Africa, through the RECs, should, then, be informed by lessons and parallels drawn from across Africa, and chiefly, the integration experience of the EU—particularly the Schengen Area—in moving from free movement of labour (only) to EU citizenship, as enshrined in Article 20 (1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Its main activities of AEMDI will include two international workshops and one international conference. One workshop will be hosted by the University of Eastern Finland and another by the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn) at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. The main output of AEMDI activities will be a scientific edited volume, based on deliberations in and papers from the workshops. The main outcome of AEMDI is the promotion of the Jean Monnet Programme and adoption of best practices from the EU`s successes in regional integration, in Africa. The impacts of AEMDI will include increased networking and expertise between/of academics, policy makers, professionals and relevant stakeholders in Africa and the EU. AEMDI responds to the need to promote development and well-being in Africa through, among other things, learned experiences from observed successes in EU integration.

ECoC-SME: Actions for inducing SME growth and innovation via the ECoC event and legacy

ECoC-SME is a three-year project under the Interreg Europe programme of the EU funded from the European Regional Development Fund.
The project recognizes the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) Programme as a yet underutilized opportunity for cities and regions to develop existing and prospective local small- and medium enterprises (SMEs) via their early engagement in the event. The project focuses on the mega-event’s potentials to trigger, strengthen and diversify local entrepreneurship by encouraging their creative, ‘unconventionally’ cross-sectoral co-operations, clustering and networking, as well as their internationalization.

Karelian Wellness – increasing wellness tourism in Finnish and Russian Karelia.

The project aims to increased business and interaction in wellness service sector in Finnish and Russian Karelia. The project will offer new approach to wellness tourism service development, design and services selection and thus help the entrepreneurs to better reach their potential customers on the both sides of the border.

Project goals:
1. Identification and analysis of wellness services consumption in the region
2. Training on service design and individual pilots
3. Cross-border networking and peer-to-peer learning
4. Development of service and marketing skills

The most important target groups are various sized entrepreneurs working with wellness services.

Reflections – Museums as Development Platforms for Nature-Based Business

Reflections – Museums as Development Platforms for Nature-Based Business project aims to strengthen SMEs in the South Karelia region and support the recovery of tourism and other businesses from the Corona epidemic through the development of new nature-based businesses and earnings logics. At the same time, the premises of the future Museum of Nature and Wilderness in Imatra, the network of companies, associations and educational institutions already formed around the museum and the vitality of the entire area will be strengthened. The project is managed by the city of Imatra.

The project will provide a three-part workshop series for SMEs to build, test and conceptualize new types of nature-based products, businesses and earnings logics. Particular attention will be paid to the development of sustainable and non-material industries. The workshops are carried out as a multidisciplinary (science, art, technology) cooperation between the participating universities ie Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology, University of Eastern Finland and Uniarts Helsinki. In addition to the series of workshops, the project includes regional, national and international (especially Europe) networking and summary and communication of project results.

As a result of the project, the network of companies and other actors in South Karelia area and the wider Saimaa region will be strengthened and internationalized, which will diversify the region’s economic structure and add value to the future Museum of Nature and Wilderness. Also new nature-based products and new businesses will emerge.

Through the workshop process, a nature-based product innovation environment will be created with local companies linked to the future museum, as well as a new concept for the development of nature-based products. A summary of the workshop process and its results will be produced and disseminated.