Interreg Blog: Blog entry about the project BE STROCAL!

Last updated on: 29 Sep, 2022
Source: Pexels – Anna Shvets, Pixabay – geralt

The Interreg B docking project BE STROCAL! deals with an innovative software to strengthen local value chains in the field of bioeconomy. Where, for example, can waste materials be found in the region? Which products are also bio-based? In general, how can the defossilization of the economy, i.e. the conversion from fossil raw materials to renewable alternatives, be driven forward? To answer such questions, the so-called “Value Chain Generator (VCG)” was developed. This brings companies together so that new value chains can be created or bio-based business opportunities can be discovered. Dr. Theresa Dörres from Chemie-Cluster Bayern reports on the efforts in the project and upcoming training courses for interested parties.

What is the project „BE STROCAL!“ about?

The BE STROCAL! (BioEconomic regions grow throug STROng loCAL value chains) is all about the software “Value-Chain-Generator (VCG)”. The software was developed by 14 participating project partners in the European Interreg project AlpLinkBioEco (2018 – 2021) in the Alpine region and filled as a database with public information on actors from research and industry. With the docking project BE STROCAL! funded by the federal program Transnational Cooperation, this software is now made public nationwide in the project. The goal is to get clusters and regional developers throughout Germany excited about the software and to win them over as new users. The key is that the information contained in the software on input materials, end products and residual materials can be used to quickly and easily link companies to form new value chains in line with the bioeconomy. In this way, the software supports the transformation toward a biobased economy and represents a valuable tool for individual regions.

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What was the background to continue the project BE STROCAL! as a docking project to the Interreg project AlpLinkBioEco?

The VCG is a promising tool to get an overview of innovative companies in the region and to search specifically for customers or suppliers for bio-based products in the industry. Its potential is great and far from exhausted. In 2021, for example, the database contained mainly players from the Alpine region. Innovative companies outside Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg are largely missing. For this reason, the BE STROCAL! project is promoting the VCG software in Germany, integrating new users and expanding the database. The goal is to better represent innovative companies from Germany and to use the VCG in the longer term.

What are the benefits of the project for the regions?

Especially in today’s world, the bioeconomy, the development of alternatives for petroleum-based products and the use of residual materials are becoming increasingly important and increasing the future viability and competitiveness of regions. Local companies listed in the database gain visibility and also competitiveness. In addition, the VCG also serves as a repository of ideas and a source of inspiration. Local value chains that already exist can also serve as an impetus for other regions and be implemented there in a similar way.

Are there already first project results? How can the results continue to be used after the project is completed?

We already started last year to promote the VCG and the BE STROCAL! project at events and to make the VCG known nationwide. In the course of the year, numerous discussions took place with potential users, from which we took away helpful impulses and suggestions. The software was also further developed by the former project partners from Switzerland (iCoSys) and Slovenia (Anteja ECG) with their own funding and equipped with a new and user-friendly user interface. In the coming months, we will hold several public training sessions for interested parties. The offer stands: All interested parties, regional developers, clusters or economic development agencies can get an account and use the software. Of course, this will remain usable after the project has been completed.

Source: Screenshot of VCG:AI

What do you personally like about working in the project?

Through our work in the BE STROCAL! project, we get to know diverse and innovative funding projects from all regions of Germany, inspiring regional developers, and also well-connected and future-oriented clusters. From each conversation, we take away inspiration for our own cluster work and continue to expand our network, which results in new opportunities. We also learn about innovative projects and also companies that want to make a difference with their work and see the bioeconomy, and also defossilization, as a cornerstone for the future.

What are the next steps planned in the project?

Our next step is to offer training courses in which all the functions of the software can be tried out and also tested on our own examples. Our training courses are aimed at cluster employees, regional developers, economic development agencies, universities and interested companies. Interested parties should have the opportunity to become part of the VCG community and to apply the software in their daily work as active users. (More information about the trainings and upcoming dates can be found at the end of the article).

Do you have any tips for other Interreg projects on how to use the docking support of the Federal Transnational Cooperation Program?

In the former Interreg project AlpLinkBioEco, the approach of enterprise networking has already been successfully tested on selected examples. However, the potential of the software was far from exhausted and we wanted to apply and test it on further real challenges from the economy. The docking project gave us both the time and the resources we needed for this. With BE STROCAL!, the software is now also being disseminated within Germany. Clusters and regional developers will be made aware of the opportunities and advantages of such software and ultimately new users will be integrated nationwide. Furthermore, the feedback from external partners is important to us in order to ultimately discuss the further development possibilities of such a software. The docking project also offers the opportunity to create concrete future scenarios and to acquire new funding on the basis of these. We therefore see docking funding as a very positive funding instrument. The organizational and legal effort involved in developing software as part of a funded project with international project partners was challenging. It is worthwhile to plan sufficient time for this in advance or directly into the project.

You can also read the interview on the Interreg-Homepage .

BE STROCAL! – BioEconomic regions grow through STROng loCAL value chains

Eine Initiative des Chemie-Clusters Bayern GmbH

Gefördert durch das „Bundesprogramm Transnationale Zusammenarbeit“ des „Bundesministeriums des Innern und für Heimat“ )