On June 16, 2022, after a year, representatives of the member companies of the Slovak Plastics Cluster (SPK) met again in Hotel Mikádo in Nitra, Slovakia to evaluate the year 2021 and the first half of 2022, also to recall the milestones achieved by the cluster in past 13 years and to outline the upcoming six months in 2022.
As usual, the meeting of the SPK general assembly was not only a formalized meeting but created also an opportunity to point out the present and future functioning of the SPK. It was the response of the members to the very critical issues of the increasing input costs of plastic companies (energy and materials).
More than 36 SPK representatives and guests who accepted the invitation developed discussions that can move the members of the cluster further and thus create a background for very interesting activities. In this way, member companies can get one step ahead of non-member companies. The conference was full of challenges and ideas. The SPK Project manager, Mgr. Veronika Doležalová, presented the SPK project initiatives, including 3 European projects, EXTRATEX, PERCY, EPIC, and one national, InCluNet.
The project EPIC (Educational Package for SMEs to Increase their Innovation capabilities and productivity, Project number:2020-1-HU01-K202-078669) was presented to the audience with its main goals, initiatives and activities realized.
The main goal was to draw the attention of company participants to the need for innovation management – the innovation process.
At the same time, it was aimed to inform the participants about the goals and outputs of the EPIC project and to point out the results of testing the whole Educational package including the Guide with Best practices/Case studies, Practical group exercises, an online Self-assessment tool (a questionnaire on Innovation), and an offline card game called Innovation Wizard.
The EPIC project manager presented in detail the testing of mentioned educational products realized in form of in-house training in 4 companies (SMEs). Two participants, employees of the SMEs involved, were asked to provide their feedback on the testing. This led to a very fruitful discussion among all participants and aroused the interest also of other companies in such a training and educational package.
During the EPIC conference (a project Multiplier event), SPK members also informed the participants about various forms of innovation support from the state. Also, different types of innovations that are in line with energy-saving measures, rules of the Circular Economy, and the biggest trends in the field of technical textiles were presented and actively discussed among all conference participants.