TESLA (Transnational Ecosystem Laboratory & Actions)

Project  Aims

TESLA is a transnational innovation support project involving eight partners from six EU Member States. The overall objective of the project is to support the growth and development of early stage High Potential Start Up (HPSU) companies in Ireland, Wales, Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands through a programme of transnational pilot innovation and business support initiatives. The project is being led by the Border Midland and Western Regional Assembly.

The project consists of ten targeted initiatives which, will be delivered mainly through the Higher Education Institutions. These are aimed at helping HPSUs internationalise more quickly, access key export market intelligence in the European Union and beyond, identify new product development opportunities and, with the support and expertise of the partner network to identify new sources of finance for HPSU development. The project will invest €3.8m in the partner regions over a three year period, 50% of which will be provided by the European Regional Development Fund through the Interreg IVB North West Europe Programme.

map tesla project

Project Actions

Over the three year life of the project customised supports will be delivered in the partner regions which will draw from the expertise and experiences of all the partners and will allow for the transfer of good practise between regions and capitalise on successful practises and schemes. The 10 specific transnational initiatives are:

  • Creative Industries HPSU action designed to assist HPSUs in the Creative sector to access new markets and create a tailored innovation support system for these companies New Product Design and Development pilot aimed at providing a comprehensive programme of supports on new product design and development, business planning, Intellectual Property etc., to HPSUs

  • An Innovation Outreach Programme designed to make available vital Innovation and Business supports to HPSUs in more remote regions of the North West Europe programme area.

  • An Internationalisation Programme to assist HPSUs internationalise more quickly and gain entry into new markets.

  • A Transnational Placements Scheme designed to offer Managers of Incubation Centres and Technology Transfer Offices the opportunity to avail of a placement in internationally accredited Innovation centres in Europe.

  • The ‘Soft landing & Co-Incubation’ pilot which is designed to help emerging HPSU firms gain access to export markets and ‘soft landing services’ The scheme will allow partners to send a client company to a ‘trusted friend’ in another country who will assist the firm through the provision of key business information such as funding, regulatory frameworks, procurement, training etc.

  • The Mentor Plus scheme which will build upon a previously successful Mentor scheme piloted in the BMW region. HPSU companies will be assisted through a tailored mentoring scheme where expert mentors throughout the partner regions will be deployed to work with HPSU firms on specific business challenges.

  • The ‘Spin Ins’ Initiative which will allow larger indigenous firms and Multi Nationals to spin in new business ventures to Incubation Centres through a support programme that will encourage staff to be more entrepreneurial and innovative within the work place.

  • Entrepreneurial Finance pilot action which will create a transnational network to specifically look at identifying new funding streams for HPSU development, venture capital opportunities and seed funding sourcing.

  • A Public Procurement action aimed at assisting HPSUs with the procurement process which tends to be complex and sometimes challenging for small companies. This action will support training, one to one consultations on tendering and awareness raising. A transnational panel of experts will be formed to offer guidance and expertise to HPSU firms.

Expected Results

  • 612 firms will be engaged in the 10 initiatives

  • 55 new products designed and/or developed

  • 45 HPSUs established

  • 68 Support Workshops hosted

  • 850 Expert days provided to firms