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WORTH Partnership Project
Press release12 March 2018European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency7 min read


27th February 2018 – The 1st selection of WORTH Partnership Project is complete.

  • 111 partnership applications received for the 1st Call
  • 41 shortlisted partnerships participated in the final evaluation and networking weekend in Madrid
  • 27 winning partnership projects, 60 SMEs/starts ups involved, 20 EU COSME countries represented: 16 in fashion/textile, 2 in footwear, 3 in accessories, 3 in furniture, 2 in jewellery and 1 in leather

27th February 2018 – The 1st selection of WORTH Partnership Project is complete. The WORTH Weekend Madrid (3-4 Feb 2018) saw more than 150 talented creative and design professionals and SMEs come together from across Europe, all with the same belief that innovation can drive a significant change to the EU industry, society, and communities. The attendees joined together for the weekend of final evaluations to bring forth their project ideas.

In one of the most charming European cities, Madrid, and in the beautiful IED Master as the setting, the cohesive two-day event encouraged the participants to communicate, brainstorm, build relationships, share and reinforce the WORTH values: connect, create and innovate on a transnational basis across Europe.

The first day of the event saw the partnerships pitch their innovative ideas in a back-to-back presentation, involving all 41 of the finalists. The audience was formed of their peers, panel from the high-end fashion, design and consumer goods industries. The steering board ended the day with an insightful round table of debates, receiving questions from the finalists and ending on the note of “promoting togetherness” – Pavel Ivancic.

The enriching weekend continued onto the second day where each partnership met with their related Steering Board member and mentor to discuss their projects in-depth, defining the project goals and support WORTH Project can provide.

In parallel to the focus meetings, lectures on “Sustainability in the Textile Sector” (by Simona Moldovan, AITEX), “Intellectual Property Rights” (by Annamaria Stein from the AA Franzosi law firm, Italy), “Design Thinking” (by Christina Skoubridou from KEPA Cultural Development Center of Greece) and “Fashion as an interface to the digital dimension” ( by the renowned FashTech Designer Jasna Rokegem from Belgium) took place under the stunning stained glass roof of the IED Master building.

A conclusion was reached at the end of the weekend for which final projects will be granted WORTH support amongst the 41 shortlisted partnerships. The results were a diverse selection of 27 extremely promising transnational partnership projects, involving 60 designers, starts ups and companies, representing 20 EU COSME countries across the different creative industry sectors: 16 working in fashion and textile, 2 in footwear, 3 in accessories, 3 in furniture, 2 in jewellery and 1 in leather.

“There was a high level of individual commitment from the participating partnerships and from the steering board who selected the projects to respond to the expectations created by these – stated Piedad Rivas, programme manager, ‎European Commission – The level of expectations from participants was high and the return received in terms of connection and learning exchange was exponential”.

Each partnership will receive:

1) financial support to mature and bring their idea to life (€ 10,000 per project)

2) tailor-made coaching and mentoring to improve knowledge and skills related to design, technology, manufacturing processes, and business strategy; access to finance; market positioning support; legal support and intellectual property rights management,

3) participation in two of the top international industry fairs and exhibitions,

4) networking activities and support to facilitate collaboration and market upscale.

The WORTH Partnership Project application call will be ongoing throughout 4 years, with different application intakes, aiming to support 150 innovative/disruptive partnership projects. The Second Call is coming soon.


“There is no price for that unique experience” – said Sabri Mahdaoui from Madesign (Bulgaria).

“We have to reflect on new ways of mixing creativity and innovation and expressing creativity through the lens of other disciplines” – Leslie Holden, director of the Amsterdam School of Fashion and member of the steering board, expressed.

“Presenting my project in front of an international jury now in Madrid. Keep fingers crossed … But whatever the result is I can tell it is WORTH coming here.” – declared Fashion Designer and participant Esther Perbandt (Germany)

“During #WORTHweekendmadrid I spoke about worlds beyond worlds, fragility and illusions, about lies, fears, and addictions, about creativity and innovation, disruptive technologies, sustainable approaches and about turning something residual into something meaningful. And it was all WORTH it.” – said Jewellery Designer and participant Angela Ciobanu (Romania)

“We are very happy and honored to be awarded by WORTH Project and we are looking forward to this cooperation”- stated design expert, creative leader and participant Wolfgang Langeder (Germany)

“In the finals of WORTH Partnership Project and meet up with FashTech pro’s from all over Europe. I inspired them and they inspired me” – said fashion tech designer and participant Jasna Rokegem (Belgium)

“I would like to take the opportunity to thank the whole WORTH Team for their constant support, the jury who made us see the project through a different lens and has radically changed our perception of the project” – expressed Fashion Designer and participant Elisa Palomino, academic at Central Saint Martins (United Kingdom).


The Steering Board

Julia Körner, Design GmbH / Assistant Adjunct Professor A.UD UCLA, is an award-winning designer working at the convergence of architecture, fashion, and product design. Her work has been featured internationally in world-renowned museums, institutions, and publications.

As owner and founder of MSWtech in Germany, Wolfgang Mildner supports companies and other organisations to discover value in new technologies – especially in printed and flexible electronics.

Head of Fashion & Design at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute, Leslie Holden, after graduating the Royal College of Art in London, has worked for many years within the fashion industry as a menswear designer, design director, and entrepreneur with companies such as Dunhill, Stefanel, Byblos, Burberry, and Liberty.

Manuela Naveau studied Textiles at the University of Art and Design Linz and graduated in addition at the WU Executive Academy in Vienna for a certificate program in Marketing & Sales. Since then she has worked as an artist and curator of Ars Electronica Linz and together with the artistic and managing director Gerfried Stocker she developed Ars Electronica Export.

Thomas Gnahm is a creative specialist with a design and tech background. He is the managing director of Wear It Berlin, the Berlin network, and agency for wearable electronics and everything connected.

Designer, Stylist and Creative Director Kolbrun & Idem Jewellery, Kolbrun Yr. Gunnarsdottir studied fashion design at IED Barcelona, where she graduated in 2012. She has worked as a designer since 2003 and has opened her own shop in Reykjavik since then. Kolbrun is also Head of the Icelandic Fashion Council since 2016.

Ukrainian fashion designer, Konstantyn Rybak studied at Central Saint Martins University of the Arts. In 2010 Konstantyn started his own fashion brand, named Kofta, based on the belief that the morality of art consists of the perfect implementation of an imperfect medium.

As an award-winning designer, head of the AAAD Fashion Studio and Head of Design at Pietro Filipi, one of the most influential Czech fashion brands, Pavel Ivancic studied fashion design at the AAAD and also holds an MA in Fashion Womenswear from the Central Saint Martins College Of Art & Design. He is the winner of the 2007 Czech Grand Design Award Fashion designer of the year.


AITEX Research Institute. Project Leader

AITEX Research Institute. Project Leader

Centre of excellence in applied research and advanced technical services for the industry

KEPA Business and Cultural Development Centre

KEPA Business and Cultural Development Centre

Intermediate management authority for support programmes for SMEs and entrepreneurs

IED Istituto Europeo di Design

IED Istituto Europeo di Design

International Institution of Higher Education specialised in design, creativity, communications, and management



Communication agency with experience in complex projects worldwide with special approach to different media target

AA Avvocati Associati Franzosi Dal Negro Setti

AA Avvocati Associati Franzosi Dal Negro Setti

Law firm with strong reputation in the field of intellectual property law (design, trademarks, patents, copyrights, advertisement, unfair competition) and in a variety of corporate and commercial matters at European level

European Commission

European Commission

WORTH Partnership project is funded by COSME programme of the European Union.

COSME is the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). It runs from 2014 to 2020 with a planned budget of €2.3bn.

COSME will support better access to finance for SMEs, access to markets for SMEs, entrepreneurship and the improvement of conditions for business creation and growth.

Under the COSME programme (2014-2020), a multi annual operation is foreseen to promote the competitiveness of fashion & high-end industries, and cultural and creative industries (CCIs) in general. The textile, clothing, footwear, leather products and other fashion and high-end products and accessories, included under design based consumer goods such as jewellery, furniture, and home decoration are at the crossroads between arts and crafts, business and technology.  This is the purpose of WORTH Partnership Project to put together designers and art & craft SMEs and start-ups with peers tech firms and manufacturers to support them with funding, coaching, and advice, networking and collaboration.


Publication date
12 March 2018
European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency
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