European water-smart initiative for fostering International Sustainable Development

euWater4i-SD, the EUropean Water-smart initiative for fostering International Sustainable Development, is one of the new projects funded under the 4th generation of COSME Clusters Go International. It started on the 16th of September 2021 and will last three years, until the 15th of September 2024.

euWater4i-SD (ESCP-4i) will help European SMEs access new global value chains and take a leading position globally.

The main objective of the project is to help SMEs to go international in Latin American and Eastern African countries. The focus is set on global water-smart solutions (services, technologies and funding) enabling the transition towards sustainable territories through resource-efficient management and circular economy implementation.

To achieve this objective, euWater4i-SD will build a one-stop-shop for EU SMEs offering water-smart solutions to foster their business opportunities and increase their competitiveness at the global scale.

Specific objectives:

  1. To build a European clusters and companies network collaboration (the ESCP-4i), to promote Water-Smart solutions (services, technologies and funding) addressing the multiple cross-cutting challenges of the Sustainable Territorial Development​
  2. To support the establishment of 5 new value chains related with Sustainable Territorial Development along with the water industry, geared towards international markets, based on inputs and needs from SMEs​.
  3. To design and validate a Joint Internationalisation Strategy (JIS) through the implementation of an Internationalisation Programme reaching 1,000 SMEs to access new non-EU markets, in particular in up to 4 targeted countries​.
  4. To foster cooperation among (5) cluster organisations and its members with/in this ESCP-4i and also other ESCP-4i networks​
  5. To develop a governance system and a financial scheme for the ESCP-4i to ensure active and sustainable collaboration among the different stakeholders​
  6. To promote the visibility of euWater4i-SD as a metacluster representing the whole value-chain on water smart solutions in order to gather other European clusters, interested even though not partners of this project at the beginning;​

Key expected results:

Project figures:

  • 5 partners from 5 EU countries​
  • 36 months ​16/09/2021 – 15/09/2024​
  • 603,641 € of budget​
  • 543,274 € of EU funding
  • 6 Work Packages
  • 10 Milestones​
  • 41 Deliverables

The targeted countries​:

  • 2 geographical areas targeted:​
  • Eastern Africa ​
  • Latin Americ
  • First priority countries identified:
  • Kenya & Uganda in Eastern-Africa ​
  • Bolivia & Peru in Latin-America

Work programme:

Sustainable territorial development: a promising water-smart market

In the context of adaptation to climate changes, territorial development market is strongly lacking water-smart solutions to strengthen its resilience against extreme climatic events. This surging need sparks the creation of new value chains in which EU SMEs have a role to play to deploy their water-smart solutions and therefore boost their competitiveness at the global scale.

Five sectors are particularly affected by adequate water quantity and quality: construction, energy as a service, agriculture, industries and water resources management and supply. They can be identified as part of the sustainable territorial market and will be particularly targeted by euWater4i-SD.

Many opportunities in East African and medium-sized Latin American countries

The project will target high-growth markets in continents and countries where European SMEs are under-represented. This is the case in East African and medium-sized Latin American countries, where opportunities are numerous and increasing. These are indeed countries that have already expressed their needs for smart water solutions and will therefore be the focus of euWater4i-SD.

This euWater4i-SD-partnership with associated partners from interrelated sectors will join their competences to have an impact on EU employment, growth, and innovation. This will be done through:

  • The co-design and validation of a Joint Internationalisation Strategy reaching 1,000 SMEs to access non-EU markets, in particular in Eastern Africa and Latin America (concluding up to 10 Business Agreements)
  • The active cooperation among 5 clusters and their members within this ESCP-4i and beyond (achieving 14 Cooperation Agreements & 8 Cooperation Projects)
  • The development of a sustainable governance system and a common branding for the ESCP-4i to ensure long-term collaboration
  • The active promotion of euWater4i-SD as a metacluster representing the whole value-chain on water-smart solutions addressing the multiple cross-cutting challenges of the STD.

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The contents of this document represent the views of the author alone and are solely the responsibility of the author; they cannot be regarded as reflecting the views of the European Commission and/or the European Innovation and SME Council Executive Agency (EISMEA) or any other body of the European Union. The European Commission and the Agency accept no responsibility for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.