On February 5th 2016 8 Leader Local Action groups (LAGs) gathered in Sagadi manor (Estonia) to be part of an important moment. On the morning of February 5th the first international cooperation agreement involving Estonian LAGs was signed.
The cooperation project involves 8 LAGs from 3 different countries (Estonia, Finland, Latvia). The project itself is aimed at development of microenterprises on the countryside. The main goal is to use international cooperation to help entrepreneurs to develop their products / services and marketing skills.
In addition to the entrepreneurs the project also includes young people interested in entrepreneurship as a special target group.
The main innovative element and also the biggest challenge of the project is organising an international exchange between at least 88 rural companies from 3 countries. During the exchange the entrepreneurs have a chance to spend time in each others organisation. in cooperation new development activities and possibilities for common marketing possibilities are discussed.
In addition to the exchanges also different seminars, workshops and study visits for entrepreneurs will be carried out during the project period.
Representatives of the Estonian Ministry of Rural Affairs, Estonian National Rural Network and local media were also present and witnessed the signing of the cooperation agreement on 5th of February in Sagadi.
Kristine Hindriks from the Ministry of Rural Affairs gave a short presentation about Leader cooperation activities and legislation. She also expressed hope that the new cooperation project will be successful. Previous to the signing of the agreement, Kristine Hindriks had also looked through the draft of the agreement and gave “green light” to signing.
Having the representatives from the Ministry of Rural Affairs and NRN present, the cooperation partners from Finland and Latvia were eager to ask questions about Estonian legislation regarding the international Leader cooperation.
During the signing event all participating LAGs were also able to say few words about the project. The main message was consentaneous: cooperation is essential in development of micro-enterprises.
According to the Finnish LAG representative the project partners trust each other and stressed positively non-existing language barrier.
Latvian LAGs also had only positive words to say about the project. According to the Latvian LAGs one of the problems that made them interested in the cooperation project was that local enterprises to amazing things on local level but unfortunately they are quite often only known in their own community. As one of the actitivies in the project will be mapping local microenterprises, latvians said (with a slight humor) that they hope to find more amazing enterprises in their own region.
After signing the cooperation agreement, each LAG will put together a project application. The project activities will start in summer 2016.
Partners of the cooperation project are 3 LAGs from Estonia (LAG Development Center, LAG East-Harju Partnership, LAG Green Riverland Partnership), 3 LAGs from Finland (Sepra, Linnanseutu and Pirkan-Helmi) and 2 LAGs from Latvia (Liepaja and Lielupe).