On 7 and 8 February this year, the third interregional exchange visit took place in Lille, France.  There the project partners and representatives from University of Latvia got acquainted with the current situation of business support in the Upper France (Hauts de France) region, communication channels with enterprises and examples of good practice.

The main program took place at the Upper France Regional Council on 8th February, featuring a comprehensive agenda covering regional characteristics, good practices in European affairs, and economic development initiatives. Highlights of the agenda included presentations by key Hauts-de-France officials, such as the Vice President and Deputy General Director, Erwin SIWERIS from Interreg Europe, and various project officers from the European Affairs Directorate.

Key sessions included an overview of Upper France territorial and institutional characteristics, European Affairs Directorate’s good practices, and stakeholder experiences, with a focus on communication strategies. Presentations were also held by NORLINK - Federation of Transport and Logistics (promotes public awareness of European funding opportunities by organizing thematic events and disseminating information on the programs) SOFIE - Economic Development Agency (support agency for start-ups) and DAMPE - Regional Council Group (support for EU sectoral and cooperation programs). Thanks to the support of these agencies and working groups, companies in Upper France are informed about the various development opportunities: educational seminars; Q&A sessions; support from experienced experts.

During the inter-regional exchange visit, the project partners also visited EURATECHNOLOGIES, a start-up incubator and accelerator, which is the largest and oldest European incubator with 150 000 m² of space. EURATECHNOLOGIES is home to 300 digital companies. In 2023, 225 start-ups completed EURATECHNOLOGIES in all three programs - pre-incubation, incubation, and acceleration. EURATECHNOLOGIES creates a work and office environment where young companies can thrive and grow side by side in a creative environment, almost like living in a small business town.

The partners also had the opportunity to visit CITC - the European Digital Innovation Centre, giving an insight into innovation and technology development in the Upper France region. CITC brings together the contactless technology skills and the existing experimentation platforms in the north of France and the Euro regions like Belgium, UK, Netherlands, Germany and is supported by over 250 members and partners. The Centre supports the use of contactless technologies (RFID, NFC, Zigbee and wireless sensor networks), standardized and innovative solutions and the development of new technologies with high potential. To support innovation in the local economy, CITC focuses on customer needs (accessibility, consumer convenience, privacy) and issues related to the health impact of the Internet, as well as on various IT harmonization issues (interoperability between different systems, harmonization of regional standards, etc.).

Speaking about the visit, Brian Ogilvie, Head of Research and Commercialization Support at Southeast Technological University, said, “It’s great to see these spaces and to bring this learning back to Carlow. Innovation hubs serve as the beating heart of progress, fostering an environment where creativity converges with collaboration. These hubs are not merely physical spaces; they are dynamic ecosystems that fuel the spirit of exploration and experimentation. By bringing together diverse minds, skills, and perspectives, innovation hubs become catalysts for transformative ideas and solutions.”

As part of the program, participants visited the Chamber of Commerce and Industry "Grand Lille" to get an insight into the direct support for entrepreneurs in the Upper France region. The main tasks of the "Grand Lille" are 1. providing advice and support to businesses 2. organizing training courses for employees 3. managing the infrastructure needed for the area.

Next visits are planned for this year in Bucharest, the capital of Romania, and County Carlow, Ireland.

More information:


Homepage:  https://interregeurope.eu/innocom

Introduction video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpdUrTD4X4Y

Information about the project on LU page: https://www.lu.lv/en/cets/research/euproject/innocom/


For addition information contact: Endija Latvena, LU ESASAC, endija.latvena@lu.lv