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KOBAR – a cluster for cooperation between entrepreneurs and business stakeholders

KOBAR is a platform for entrepreneurial cooperation between entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship support structures and educational institutions in Pärnu County, aiming to find the best solutions for entrepreneurial growth and the development of the region. As a collaborative platform, KOBAR includes both physical (premises at the University of Tartu Pärnu College) and virtual environments. Core partners of KOBAR are Pärnu County Development Centre/ Business Incubator and UT Pärnu College.

 

The idea of KOBAR

The idea originated from a joint project between UT Pärnu College, Pärnu County Development Centre and Pärnu City Government, the idea of which was to bring together the most important development and cooperation organizations of Pärnu County in one physical location in the college building. In the spring of 2021, as a result of reconstruction works, the college completed premises on an area of ​​more than 2,000 m2, where Pärnu County Development Centre, and Business Incubator relocated. In cooperation with the consultancy firm Cumulus a study was carried out to analyse the existing business landscape and identify the needs. On the basis of the study the principles and directions of KOBAR were formulated.

 

KOBAR: 

  • Addresses the problem of the missing link between businesses, business support structures and educational institutions at regional level aiming to support the economic activity of the region and to contribute to the generation of new knowledge and the development of the region.
  • Acts by contributing as an open and learning organization to the cooperation of entrepreneurial support structures with entrepreneurs, bringing together demand and supply to shape new collaborative and needs-based knowledge.

  • Creates knowledge by enabling organizations to exchange it to generate new value for stakeholders and ensure the spread of innovation. Innovation aims to produce and develop sustainable products and services that support the development of business and, more broadly, the socio-economic prosperity of the entire region.

KOBAR works in four areas: as a partner, club, expert and pipeline:

  • As a partner, KOBAR focuses on the core competence of the parties, i.e. standard core activities in the regional area of activity and services offered to companies. In cooperation with the parties, communication is harmonised and routines are agreed upon.

  • As a club, KOBAR focuses on creating and maintaining a network of participants in the region, thus providing knowledge based on demand. The provision of supplies and services is largely based on the basic competences and activities of the parties. As a club, the central task of KOBAR is to develop the community, maintain the network and shape a communication space, which determine the specific needs of entrepreneurs. For example, KOBAR has launched cultural debates.

  • As an expert, KOBAR is a knowledge centre in its specific field, partnering with other knowledge centres in Estonia or internationally. The knowledge centre’s excellence capability is based on sustainable and standardised resources – especially for competent people with long-term work experience as an expert group and large-scale research-and-development projects that trigger processes. The initiator is the formation of a strong group of experts (interested parties) and the implementation of large-scale research and development projects. Such areas include design of welfare services (tourism, organization of social work, design of services).

  • As a pipeline, KOBAR provides tailor-made knowledge transfer solutions for entrepreneurs in specialised fields to meet their needs for innovation and / or R&D projects. Developing these capabilities is a long-term investment in science. Initially, this may involve using and bringing in the expertise of international and national expert partners

KOBAR initiates and develops the above-mentioned activities, being a capable partner and identifying the needs of the entrepreneurs/participants. To do this, it is necessary to develop a collaborative network and an environment specific to the learning organization. In the initiation phase, the focus will be on developing, strengthening and diversifying the underlying capacity, then gradually developing the R&D capacity and its sharing and implementation across a wider scale. The missing capabilities will initially be sourced from other knowledge centres with corresponding competence. As an expert and pipeline, the lines of action of KOBAR will be developed gradually in accordance with the preparedness of the parties.

The main areas of activity are initially as follows

  • Service design
  • Tourism development
  • Social work and rehabilitation  
  • Incubation in cooperation with Tehnopol 

The main areas of activity of increasing importance are:

  • Digital sector
  • Energy, climate and the green economy 
  • Circular economy (strongly linked to the green economy)
  • Engineering capacity (including the production business incubator)