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LEADER Project Economic Initiative

t-guide would like to tell you about how the Bregenzerwald Workshop came into being.

During the LEADER II Period, just before the year 2000, the Bregenzerwald Regional Development drew up the plans and implemented the Bregenzerwald Economic Initiative project.  Twelve months after the start, one of the results was the Bregenzerwald Workshop; a support union for handicrafts for regional initiatives.  The dedication of the elected board of directors led to new and successful ways of achieving their goals.  Today, the organisation has 70 active members.

The responsible parties in the Regional Development recorded the following as the activity objectives for the project at that time:  The Bregenzerwald Economic Initiative project is an initiative of the region and the local communities for the economic driving forces in the Bregenzerwald.  Together with representatives of the economic concerns, the communities and the region will develop targets and establish measures to strengthen the economy in the Bregenzerwald.

Starting position

75% of the people in the Bregenzerwald employed as trades people work in the round about 540 handicraft and retail  businesses in the region.  Because of the limited demand within the Bregenzerwald, the businesses here are very dependant upon export.  Most of the 540 handicraft, retail and trade businesses are very small and cannot assert themselves on the changed European market because of their small and very small structures.

The participants formulated the method of resolution something like this: The common goal of the communities in the region is to expand the individual strengths of the businesses and locations for the joint use of the region.  To market and also to commit themselves, so that the region can survive effectively in a national and international environment.

A trend setting idea for the realisation of this regionally carried initiative for safeguarding the Bregenzerwald as a location, could be a union in which income or a percentage from the local taxes would be made available through a fund for the support of regional initiatives.

Focal point areas for the project

  • marketing and increasing the attractiveness of the region
  • creating an established basis for entrepreneurs in the region
  • lasting protection of the Bregenzerwald as an economic centre
  • creating a profile and an image
  • stimulating the implementation of private initiatives
  • bringing about synergy effects between regional and local strengths like culture, leisure and tourism as well as handicrafts and trade, to open up the international market

The result of the project is the Bregenzerwald Workshop

The Bregenzerwald Workshop is the coming together of all the handicraft, retail and trade businesses in the region as a union.  

The economic driving forces carry it towards continuous development in the region.   After a number of moderated meetings and the drafting of a business and financial plan, and after extensive negotiations with the town councils, village associations, financiers, and the region, the road was finally clear to found the union on April 9th, 1999.

The structure of the union and its financing were clarified and with that, the outcome of the LEADER project was fulfilled. About €10,000 from the EU and another €15,000 from private funding was needed to achieve this goal.

The newly founded union finances itself through its members, which are the crafts people themselves together with contributions from each of the townships in the Bregenzerwald.  With an annual budget of about €100,000, the collaborative measures are set.  The tasks are carried out in a project oriented manner.

The infrastructure for safeguarding the location was established with the founding of the Bregenzerwald Workshop.

It is a non-party, politically independent union.  Its duties are the building up and expansion of the Bregenzerwald Workshop, promoting its name recognition, and the quality and marketing of products and services from the Bregenzerwald handicraft and trade businesses.

In order to reach its goals, the Bregenzerwald workshop seeks collaborations with tourism related businesses and other service enterprises in the region.  It tries to use synergy potentials and set independent incentives with other institutions or initiatives on a regional level.

The Bregenzerwald Workshop wants to have a positive influence on the living culture, especially of the working population, in the Bregenzerwald, and serve the people in the region.

The Bregenzerwald Workshop works as a link between the local handicraft representatives.  It stays in contact with the townships, the Bregenzerwald regional planning committee, as well as other regional institutions, especially the Bregenzerwald Tourism association.

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