North Sea Sustainable Innovation Challenge: Towards a post-covid recovery

Are you passionate about sustainable development in the North Sea region? Do you have an idea that contributes to local and regional challenges of today to build a better tomorrow? Are you ready to make a difference, but are you in need of some support or inspiration? Then we are looking for you! Participate in the North Sea Sustainable Innovation Challenge (NSSIC) and receive training, coaching and business support to take your ideas to the next level.

The PROWAD Link project is looking for (groups of) students, entrepreneurs, small- and medium sized businesses and creative people with a sustainable mindset to join this challenge. Our goal is to contribute to a more sustainable future in the North Sea region - starting today!

Covid-19 and the climate crisis create an urgent need for sustainable solutions in fields such as tourism, agriculture, infrastructure, nature preservation, cultural heritage, marketing, fisheries, food production and more. And here is where you come in! We can’t wait to hear about your idea - big and small  - that has a local impact on social, economic and/or environmental concerns.



The ‘Tourist Adventure Challenge’ - by Ting Xu

How can we encourage tourists to learn more about environmental protection and create a better connection between visitors and locals? The ‘Tourist Adventure Challenge’ might be part of the solution! Ting Xu, master student from Western Coast University of Applied Sciences in Heide, Germany, developed the idea to organize a map where tourists can take on adventure challenges during their trip. By achieving these challenges, tourists will get to explore local shops, products and areas. Much more to report about this exciting initiative when the support program will kick off!

Ting Xu. Private photo.

Ting Xu


Eco-accounting for small entrepreneurs - by Brian van Es

How to run an economically ánd environmentally healthy company? Many small entrepreneurs have the wish to become more sustainable, but the problem is often the lack of time and knowledge. Brian van Es, master student at Campus Fryslân, wants to start his own business as eco-accountant that supports local and small entrepreneurs in the jungle of ecolabels, funding, subsidies, networks and opportunities and encourages sustainable business practices. With his experience in accounting and his knowledge in sustainable entrepreneurship, he wishes to become a one-stop-shop for small and local Frysian companies!

Brian van Es. Private photo.

Brian van Es


Turning tourist feedback into data visualization - by Martina Bradáčová & Naf Ahmed

Currently there is a lack of interaction with all types of visitors after their experiences in the Wadden Sea area. This limits the opportunity to deliver the full potential of the tourism products contributing towards sustainable development of the region. Therefore, Martina Bradáčová and Naf Ahmed have developed an online platform which transforms tourist experiences into data visualization through interactivity. The product will generate feedback data with visitors communicating their experiences through gamification methods. Martine and Naf have been part of the elite programme Erasmus Mundus 'European Master of Tourism Management', where they studied sustainable tourism development at three universities in Denmark, Slovenia and Spain during the past 1.5 years. They form the perfect team with a mix of project management skills and digital arts!

Martina Bradáčová and Naf Ahmed. Private photo.

Martina Bradáčová and Naf Ahmed


Photography course with mind and gut instinct - by Sylke Barkmann & Jörg Trittner

When you think of the Wadden Sea, most people will think of dunes, beaches and the perfect sundown. However, the region has so much more to offer in land- and seascapes! Sylke Barkmann, Wadden Sea national park guide and passionate photographer, and Jörg Trittner, professional photo designer, want to increase awareness among local residents and visitors for the often-overlooked coastal wetlands, such as salt marshes and moorland. By participating in their photography course, they hope to get people more connected with the diverse nature in the region. A mission that PROWAD Link supports!

Sylke Barkmann and Jörg Trittner. Private photos.

Sylke Barkmann and Jörg Trittner


Digital storytelling for sustainable development - by Denise Speck 

Storytelling has always been essential to humankind; But technological advancements stimulated a novel form of storytelling – digital storytelling – combining traditional oral techniques with multimedia tools which shed light on prevalent issues, foster awareness, and stimulate action. During Denise Speck’s research at Campus Fryslân, she revealed a theoretical gap in literature exploring the potential of digital storytelling within sustainable entrepreneurship and a lack of guidance on how such practices could be oriented towards creating sustainable development. Now she wants to use this possibility to further develop the concept’s potential to generate social, environmental, economic or heritage impacts for particularly small and medium sized companies in the North Sea region.

Denise Speck. Private photo.

Denise Speck


What is next? 

The winners will be taking part in a support programme with PROWAD Link project partners and external experts who will offer training and coaching in business modeling, marketing strategy, budgeting and branding and will share interesting opportunities for funding, subsidies, events and networks. Starting in May 2022, the participants and project partners will together develop a personalized programme fitting the needs and aspirations of the winners and of the PROWAD Link project. We are looking forward to working with these creative and ambitious winners during the upcoming months!


Evaluation & Award

The judging panel consists of PROWAD Link senior project members and additional stakeholders who will review the innovations. The selection of up to 5 winners will be based on the following criteria:

  • Level of innovation of the idea (20%).
  • Degree of social, economic, environmental and heritage impact (15%).
  • Inclusion of excluded groups and communities (women, indigenous, disabled, etc.) or low
  • income populations (5%).
  • Scalability potential (15%).
  • Financial sustainability for the next 3-5 years (15%).
  • Capacity of the Applicant and strategic partners (15%).
  • Viability of execution and risks (15%).

Up to 5 ideas with the most potential will be selected as winners of this challenge on 14 April. These participants will receive a support program running from May to September 2022 from the PROWAD Link project team. The program consists of:

  • Business coaching
  • Business modelling development and support
  • Marketing strategy, support and budgets
  • Branding training
  • Networking and links to regional funding schemes
  • Promotion of your team/company/idea on our partners’ social media channels
  • Certification of winning the NSSIC challenge and completing the support program


Who are we?

Linking sustainable growth & nature protection - The Interreg VB project PROWAD LINK aims to unlock the potential of natural areas as a driver for jobs and sustainable development. We will do this by working with small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to develop nature as a brand to create benefits for both, SMEs and the environment. Partners in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom working with interested SMEs will use the “nature-business-benefit-cycle” concept to develop new, sustainable products and offers.

If you would like to know more, please write to