DEBUTING - what is it all about?

Submitted by Sonja Sistonen on 14 July 2023


DEBUTING is a project co-funded by the Interreg Europe programme, starting on 1 March 2023 and ending in May 2027. Ten European regions are represented in the project by policy authorities and public actors aiming to work together on making SMEs more sustainable and competitive by supporting them to adopt new approaches related to gender equality, diversity and inclusion. The ultimate goal is to improve the regional or national policy instruments, such as cluster strategies and smart specialisation strategies. Karlstad University as advisory partner brings in its relevant knowledge to the project topic.

Improved gender equality in SMEs contributes to innovation, talent acquisition, competitiveness and improved working environment. The policy level needs to create better framework conditions for this. Clusters are a perfect tool to support SMEs to adopt improved gender equality measures, being key actors in the design and implementation of the Smart Specialisation Strategies.

The aim is to improve 10 policy instruments to better address gender equality in industry, supporting at least 10% of clustered SMEs to become more competitive by 2026. We want to:

  • increase the business capacities for 7500+ SMEs by enabling them to develop more innovative business models through a more inclusive culture.
  • raise awareness via clusters on the potential in adopting gender equality approaches.
  • increase the efficiency of existing measures, design new ones, more innovative and improve monitoring and evaluation with adequate indicators.
  • increase the awareness and capacity of policy makers and clusters to address gender equality in industry as a critical factor for SMEs to grow and become more competitive.

Our ambition goes beyond the project, aiming to put the learnings and the collaborative relations developed at the service of a Smarter Europe.

More information available on the official DEBUTING project website

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