“Brussels, 29 September 2014. To support European SME’s in the water sector, National Water Partnerships across Europe have joined forces in the European Innovation Partnership on Water (EIP-W). This official EIP Action Group “Water Innovation Support for SMEs (DIS-SMEs)” organized the Business Forum Session ‘Leveraging the network of National Water Partnerships’ on September 25th 2014, during the IWA World Congress & Exhibition in Lisbon, Portugal. The session was moderated by Mr. Francisco Nunes Correia, President of the Portuguese Water Partnership, and explained the work of this EIP Action Group. More than 40 organizations attended the sessions.
In the SME roundtable, moderated by Aleid Diepeveen from the Netherlands Water Partnership, SMEs stressed the fact that there was a clear need for innovation support and brokerage, and that National Water Partnerships were well positioned and had an important role, given their deep involvement with water-SMEs and their networks that consist of organizations across the ‘Triple Helix’. The cooperation between Water Partnerships in Europe was therefore very much welcomed by the attendees. Dirk Van der Stede, Board Member of the WssTP, emphasized that SMEs are most in need of financial investment, advice and support to access new markets and capitalize new market opportunities.
EWP Chairman Tom Vereijken concluded that this form of cooperation would contribute to acceleration of demand-driven innovation, which is currently very necessary in Europe as Water is still considered the 3rd business risk in Europe, to maintain a leading position in the World Water Market in future.