International conference “Ports as Driving Wheels of Entrepreneurial Realm“

Within the framework of the “Ports as an Entrepreneurial Mechanism of Entrepreneurship – PoWER” project, an international conference has been held in Novi Sad. It was organized by the European Affairs Fund of AP Vojvodina, being a project partner.

The international PoWER project is aimed at the development and cooperation of ports in the Adriatic-Ionian Region, as they are the driving mechanism of entrepreneurship, so as to develop innovative technologies that will contribute to the overall economic growth of the region.

There are six participating countries in the project: Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Albania and Serbia, as well as nine partners from municipalities and territories belonging to the Adriatic-Ionian Region.

Opening the conference, Vidosava Enderić, Director of the European Affairs Fund of AP Vojvodina, explained that the Adriatic-Ionian Region and the Balkans are special for several reasons. Cultural borders and political divide were the reason for the lack of cooperation between the countries of the region, as well as for the poor implementation of EU policies. “This, combined with the small capacity and infrastructural constraints of ports in this area, have resulted in the loss of their historic significance as a place of exchange, feeble modernization, as well as unresolved issues related to sustainability and urban renewal”, the director said. The only way for the authorities in our region to get ready for the transition was through the model of innovation hubs. She underlined that the innovation hub was a place that provided infrastructure and opportunities for the development of new ideas and initiatives. The need for such a hub in the Adriatic-Ionian Region had arisen due to the progressive loss of the role of those towns, mainly smaller ports, as places of trade and cultural exchange.

Nebojsa Drakulić, Assistant Provincial Secretary for Regional Development, Interregional Cooperation and Local Self-Government, emphasized that the strategy addressed climate change and energy, aiming at the reduction of urban air pollution, promotion of renewable energy, creation of more jobs and greater investment in the economy.

The panel discussion also touched upon networking of river, Danube and sea ports. The desire was to transform them into innovation centres able to be the link between ports and the region, and thus to utilize their entrepreneurial potential.

The “Ports as Driving Wheels of Entrepreneurial Realm – PoWER” project aims to reclaim the historic role of Adriatic-Ionian ports as central places of development and exchange. It is co-financed by the European Union in the amount EUR 1,220,944.42. The project duration is two years, and the initial phase is to end until 1st January 2020.