The objective of the project was to enhance cross-border cooperation in Võru County and Vidzeme Planning Region between wood and furniture sector companies to innovate the industry and add value to wood and furniture products, introduce design-thinking and increase export capacity. Activities of the project have been divided into three themes: 1) promotion and application of innovation and design in the wood products development process, 2) increasing export capacity (knowledge and know-how), 3) creating contacts and networks in partner region and in potential export markets.
Activities carried out during project lifetime:
The (1) research served as a base for decisions about possible target markets and summarized the main tendencies and opportunities of the target industry.
Project's take-off event, (2) Garage48 Wood hackathon, the first time hackathon-format was implied in relation to wood as a material. It involved participants from different target groups and backgrounds. Participants formed cross-border and cross-sectoral teams to develop new products and prototypes over 48 hours to solve industry challenges and problems.
It was followed by (3) innovation and design workshops. The focus of one workshop was on furniture and others on the wood building. As well as two (4) workshops on export were carried out (workshops were held in Valmiera, Vidzeme, and in Tsenter, Võru region).
A (5) promotional video was made about the regions and most innovative and design-oriented wood and furniture companies in the area. It contained summary clips about 6 companies in Võru region and 6 in Vidzeme region and can be watched below.
(6) Contact visits between partner regions’ companies were held to introduce neighboring companies to business leaders from the partner region to get to know and exchange experiences in business development in the industry.
(7) Trade missions from selected export target countries – Norway, Sweden, and Denmark - were invited to visit the area. The aim of the activity was to create real business contacts.
The second hackathon (8) Garage48 Wood 2 was held in Cesis, Latvia, and was based on the success of the initial Garage48 Wood hackathon.
Most active participants of the project were invited to (9) visit an international exhibition IMM Cologne Furniture Fair in Cologne, Germany.
As companies are always looking for smarter ways to give more value to their products and services and find ways to improve their export capabilities, the companies valued highly the clear step-by-step instructions they received both in design workshops and export workshops as well as from the design and export guidelines that are available on both partners websites and as a project material on this page.
The contacts between Latvian and Estonian Furniture Associations were reestablished and it created a better foundation to collaborate in export activities also in the future.
329 participants took part in 11 joint project events and 30 SMEs benefited from the project activities and received non-financial support.
Author of the photo: Taavi Karu