A critical component of BE-Rural is to accompany the elaboration process of bio-based strategies and roadmaps and relevant business models through the sharing of knowledge, good practices and mutual learning across the Open Innovation Platforms (OIPs). To this end, three inter-regional webinars were organised on 18 March 2020, 16 June 2020, and on 16 February 2021. Each of the three webinars were held as half-day events and successfully brought together between thirty and forty participants, mainly representing the five OIP regions.

The first webinar focused on improving the general understanding of the current regional situations with regard to their political contexts and main priorities for the development of local bioeconomy strategies. OIP facilitators and their stakeholders had the chance to provide details on their sector of activity, describe the status of the bioeconomy development in their region and discuss common points of interest, such as the need for more cross-sector collaboration, the lack of financing, and the utilization of abandoned private land in rural areas.

A second webinar further deepened the exchange of best practices between regions by examining experiences in the promotion of local food systems, funding opportunities, and the role of bioeconomy in the implementation of smart specialisation strategies. A key outcome highlighted throughout the webinar was the high replicability across regions of these three aspects. In addition, it was noted that the mobilisation of regional actors, accompanied by a sustained effort to educate society from an early age, was the key factor for success.

The third webinar was dedicated to best practices on strategy development and business models in each OIP region. Each region shared one or two best practices focused both on local/regional strategies and business models. A number of successful small-scale examples or initiatives helped complete the economic picture in each region.

The outcomes of these interactions have helped collect best practices and critical knowledge on the role of these activities in designing and implementing effective strategies. These learnings will be published in a “Best practice guide for strategy development” and will ultimately feed back into BE-Rural’s regional strategy and roadmap development processes.