Kehittämisyhdistys SILMU ry – Leader Action Group SILMU is a registered, non profit association founded in 2007 to promote rural development in the area.
The purpose of the association is to encourage rural inhabitants to cooperation in order to develop the area and to keep the countryside live. Our purpose is also to increase knowhow and exchange of knowledge related to rural development between different rural areas, including transnational work. To create conditions for employment the purpose is still to develop the spiritual and economical activity in the area.
The association is bilingual, the used languages being Finnish and Swedish (languages spoken by the people living in the area). LAG SILMU is one of the 54 Leader action groups (LAGs) implementing its local development program and the national Development Strategy and Programme for 2014-2020.
The main themes of the SILMUSTA KASVUA – TILLVÄXT MED SILMU 2014-2020 -strategy are:
- Entrepreneurship and employment
- Vital villages
- Environment and nature
- LAG SILMU’s own areal developement projects
The international strategy (PDF) >> is a part of LAG SILMU’s strategy.
The total Leader budget for our LAG is about 7,2 million €.
Area of SILMU (click the picture to enlarge the map):
International cooperation: Our Executive Director Gina Forsström on her way to meet LAG Durham in May 2013 in Porvoo archipelago.
Transnational projects has to meet the following criteria:
- Respect the goals of the local development program (above)
- Concrete results and added-value locally and internationally for all partners that could not be reached nationally
Decision making in transnational projects
The first contact should be made to the LAG manager. When partners are willing to build up a transnational project, the Finnish applicants (the LAG included) have the possibility to apply for exploratory project funding for project planning, travel costs in order to sign Letters of Intent and formal cooperation contracts. In non-LAG projects, the LAG can be asked to be a partner. The LAG itself can be a lead partner or a partner. It is often the LAG who is the contracting partner and handles the international cash flow, even though the implementation is delegated to local actors.
The decisions in transnational projects are made by the board of directors of the LAG. The board has 9 members and a chairperson. The board is elected in the annual general meeting of the members of the association. In the board three different groups are equally represented; the public sector, associations or representatives of the entrepreneurs operating in the region and inhabitants not involved in the above mentioned groups.
The LAG manager introduces the application to the board of directors. The board gives a statement on the application to the Rural department of the Employment, and the Economic Development Centre, which gives the applicant the official decision. If the statement is positive, the authorities may reject the project only in case of violation of the regulations. If the statement is negative, the authorities have no other solution than rejecting the project.
The focus of the development strategy is on
- Entrepreneurship and employment
- Knowledge and skills
- Villages, village plans and culture
- Environment and nature
- Rural-urban cooperation
Mäntsälä major region and Porvoo/Loviisa major region
The SILMU region is divided into two subterritories: Mäntsälä region and Porvoo/Loviisa region.
The Mäntsälä major region consist of the following communities: Askola, Mäntsälä and Pornainen.
Strategy: active and well-educated rural actors cooperate and work in order to ensure the quality of life and the quality of enterprising in the region.
Mäntsälä major region
Entrepreneurship and employment: activation, diversification
- Bioenergy, local raw materials, products and production equipments: local economy
- Service entrepreneurship, tourism, nature tourism
- Networking (telecommunication, logistics, joint marketing)
- Training for enterprises
Knowledge and skills for inhabitants and communities
- Information technology, virtual training, training, multi-service networks
- Well-being of rural residents: energy, waste and water management
- know-how and awareness about the environment
- Community spirit and actions
- Cultural traditions and skills
Villages, village plans and culture: acting together
- Village plans: new and updated
- Village actions: Culture, traditions, local identity, renovated village community centres, communication
- Motion, handicrafts
Quality of life: small scale projects on structures and infrastructure
- Public transport, rural roads and paths, private roads, security on rural roads
- Telecommunication, multiservice activities, waste and water management, recycling
- Routes, playing grounds
Environment and nature: protecting diversity, providing leisure services
- Landscape management: nature and built landscape
- Nature and adventure tourism
- Restoration of watercourses
Porvoo and Loviisa major region
Enterprises and employment
- Promoting entrepreneurship: creating new opportunities and supporting new enterprises, encourage entrepreneurship, expert and professional advisory services, Cooperation and networking,
- Strengthening the industrial structure and the competitiveness: expert services, branding, productizing, client management, sales and marketing, cooperation
- Encouraging entrepreneurship: youth and schoolchild as target groups in cooperation with 4H associations and schools increased cooperation between entrepreneurs (with entrepreneurs’ associations, producer organisations)
- Promoting rural entrepreneurship: development and investments of microenterprises 1-3 person-years
- Diversification of business on farms: bioenergy, waste, new technologies, tourism
- Communication and information skills: product development, handicrafts and products food processing and productizing.
- Cooperation in and between the villages, attraction, communication
- Common projects: village community centres, services, happenings, identity
- Services and multiservice activities: caretakers (janitors), neighbours, cooperation, voluntary work, renovation, services in cooperation with the third sector, multi-service centres.
- transports services: local solutions, logistics, traditions.
- Watercourses in recreational use, other recreational activities, rural tourism, cultural landscapes
- direct sales and handicrafts, local food
- cultural landscapes and traditions, restoration of watercourses,
- promoting environmental and rural awareness (environmental information) skills
- sustainable development: local energy, bioenergy, logistics, teleworking
- manors, small museums, other activity centres, happenings, traditions
- recreation, entrepreneurship, education, 4H, village schools, security
SILMU is open for cooperation in all 4 axes. LEADER-principles, especially the bottom-up approach must be respected. The goal is to activate people in international questions, offer new ideas, exchange information and practices, as well as learn to know new cultures. Trans-national projects have to strengthen entrepreneurship (preferably direct contacts), services, environmental expertise or village action or civil society activities. Priority is given to Baltic States, Central Europe, as well as to Sweden and Ireland where initial contacts have been made. Other contacts are not excluded. In larger projects and where needed, SILMU cooperates with other LAGs in Uusimaa Region. SILMU is interested in Cross-border cooperation with rural areas close to capitals or bigger cities and cooperation with coastal areas around the Baltic Sea.