The seminar on 14 May in Trieste, focused on different options of eco-sustainable housing and opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The event was organised by the Central European Initiative (CEI), within the European project WIDER, involving the "green" development of the Mediterranean SMEs, in particular through innovation in the energy sector.

During this event, 39 pilot projects sponsored by WIDER, were presented. This initiative enabled the SMEs promoting the projects, to transfer their area of business from the currently weak traditional markets, to emerging and innovative markets, such as the one for ecological buildings for the elderly, offering potential for improvement to businesses.
 
The mayor of the Slovenian Municipality in Šentrupert, Rupert Gole, presented  the “Silver House” project for the construction of 12 Eco-smart houses for the elderly.

“The modular nature of the architecture of this Eco-smart housing offers a new model where all SMEs are able to incorporate energy efficient options, as well as innovative technologies, to integrate and to enhance the own product along all the eco-smart houses  supply chain”, the representative of SVIM- Sviluppo Marche, Francesca Orazi pointed out. “At the same time, we contribute to improving the quality of life of the elderly, making it possible for them to have an autonomous, eco-smart life and to be comfortable in their own homes”, she added.

The objective of this seminar was to transmit to the Central Eastern European States the knowledge and experience developed during this project concerning innovation in this sector, which is gaining ground, since it concerns a constantly growing market share, the so-called “silver market”.
 
The participants from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovakia were mostly representatives of regional agencies of development, public entities in charge of the elderly’s health as well as organisations supporting SMEs.
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The project Green groWing SMEs: Innovation and Development in the energy sector in mEd aRea (WIDER), is funded by the EU Programme MED (2007-2013).
The purpose of the project is to address the ageing trend and related social changes and challenges it presents,by using an innovative approach. In particular, it aims to enhance elderly customers’ lifestyle while helping them to use energy in a cleaner and better way and improve energy saving until autonomy of their residence. 
 
For more information: radovanovic@cei.int

regional cooperation for European Integration and sustainable development