POM – West-Vlaanderen
With offshore wind activities on the rise, the Province of West Flanders is maximising the region’s resources and knowledge to turn this opportunities into an economic powerhouse.
The West Flanders Development Agency (POM West Flanders) implements the social-economic policy of the Province of West Flanders by means of initiating and coordinating activities and projects focusing on sustainable entrepreneurship, business infrastructure, innovation and international business support. The aim is to reinforce West Flanders as an internationally orientated, dynamic, competitive and innovative region with a positive working climate and an attractive business environment.
Due to its unique location on the North Sea coast and the wealth of knowledge and expertise within easy reach, West Flanders has the potential to evolve into a leading international Blue Energy Cluster. The focal point of this cluster lies in and around Ostend. The Blue Energy Cluster is supported at local, provincial and regional levels to maximise business opportunities. Our motto: “Supporting companies today for the economy of tomorrow.”
With the cluster policy “Factory for the Future Blue energy” the West Flanders Development Agency (POM West Flanders) has set up an ambitious economic partnership between government, businesses, research and development (R&D) and training, to support SMEs in their linking to and development within the blue energy sector. Working on five themes (infrastructure, SME support, education & training, marketing and R&D) POM West Flanders has a long track record of supporting business and stimulating innovation. In recent years various initiatives with large SME involvement were set-up.
As this SME involvement is a key element in the regional economic development, Inn2POWER focussing on specific topics very relevant to our region (e.g. development of the business cluster with an international perspective, the need for work force and test facilities), will help POM West Flanders to offer the appropriate supportive conditions. The outcome of Inn2POWER should lead to a stronger involvement of our SMEs in the local and international offshore wind market.
As Inn2POWER lead partner POM West Flanders will take responsibility for the general management of the project.
The offshore wind industry requires highly skilled staff. One of the activities of work package WP2, to which POM West Flanders will actively contribute, is to identify and support the specific and shared communication needs of SMEs in recruiting staff. In addition, to anticipate the growing needs for technical profiles, specific packages will be developed to show how interesting the offshore wind sector is and to raise the job attractiveness. This also connects to WP5, which develop SME aimed MBA level courses in collaboration with offshore wind industry (OWI) companies, knowledge institutes and industry associations.
By WP3 POM West Flanders can help SMEs to make connections in the sector and stimulate entrepreneurship and innovation.
The Blue Energy cluster being so broadly supported gives the cluster its brand recognition, with the GreenBridge knowledge centre as its cornerstone. A state-of-the-art sustainable research hub in Ostend is being created to further invest in basic and applied research. Testing facilities such as towing and wave tanks, as well as renewed knowledge centres like OWI-lab, forming a bridge between three Flemish universities in Ghent, Brussels, Leuven, complete the picture. For POM West-Flanders WP4 is an opportunity to be involved in all actions related to test facilities.