The European Union has launched an initiative that will see designers, craftspeople and artists come together with technology companies across countries to make collaborative products.
The Worth Partnership Project has been funded by the EU’s COSME programme – the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.
Part of £2bn fund
COSME is a €2.3bn (£2bn) fund running from 2014 to 2020, which aims to support entrepreneurs and small businesses, and help them grow.
While the UK is still part of the EU, it continues to benefit from EU funds like COSME. It is not yet known if the UK will be able to take part in projects like this once Brexit happens, scheduled for 29 March 2019.
The initiative looks to link up those working in the creative industries, such as designers, artists and craftspeople, with technology companies, manufacturers, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), start-up companies and self-employed people in order to develop new products and projects.
Funding, coaching and legal advice
Individuals and businesses can apply to receive funding. Those that are successful will also receive coaching, skills training and legal and marketing advice, and will have access to networking events and two international trade fairs.
The initiative will last four years and will see 150 partnership projects, involving roughly a 450 different companies and businesses.
Successful partnerships will receive support from industry professionals across tech, design and fashion. This includes Javier Goyeneche, founder at eco-fashion brand Ecoalf, and Wolfgang Mildner, founder at Germany-based tech company MSWtech.
Applications open until 31 December
Budding participants can now apply, with the first call for entries closing on 31 December 2017. The initiative will reopen for entries again in 2018, 2019 and 2020, in multiple waves.
Furniture, interior, fashion, textile and jewellery designers are invited to apply, alongside tech companies, small businesses and start-ups.
Applicants are asked to submit a project idea. They will be judged based on “their attitude to innovate”, say COSME organisers, alongside their social and environmental impact, technical and industrial capability, and market potential.
COSME also stresses that applicants need to show enthusiasm and interest in working and collaborating across different countries.
Entries for the first wave of applicants close on 31 December 2017. For more information, head to the Worth Partnership Project site.