Welcome to the ARDENT project! The ARDENT project unites 6 main and 2 associated partners from HEIs, research centres and networks from 5 countries in Europe, who strive to foster entrepreneurship skills development in rural areas as well as promote closer links among community members. In our first series of blog articles, we would like to introduce you to each of consortium partner and highlight their initiatives and aspirations towards creating value and promoting local economies, and contributing to the settlement of the local population.

The Viana do Castelo Polytechnic Institute (IPVC) was founded in 1980, aiming at providing qualified human, cultural, scientific, technical and professional training, to carry out necessary research to accomplish its mission and to cooperate with the regional community of Alto-Minho, particularly with its productive and entrepreneurial sectors. The IPVC is made up of six Schools offering undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses, these last very often in collaboration with national and international polytechnics and universities.

The IPVC has grounded its existence on the continuous search for quality of training and on its involvement in projects in several areas as a tool for building links with national and international polytechnics and universities, and partner organisations. It has a team of qualified professionals, with experience in the processes of education/learning, research, transfer of technology and knowledge. The International Office (GMCI) and the Office of Technology, Innovation and Knowledge Transfer (OTIC) are the most visible face of the enormous effort IPVC is developing for the embodiment of business and regional community into an international level.

Given its location in a rural, low density area, in line with its mission statement, IPVC plays a crucial role as a driver for social and economic development, leading towards the advances on societal changes in general, and the attraction and retention of human talent in the regional innovation ecosystem in particular.  IPVC plays an essential role in the local development, providing the best conditions for establishing the necessary and essential link between education, research and innovation (the so-called “knowledge triangle”), providing young graduates the conditions for the development of the right skills to face societal and entrepreneurial challenges. It not only offers curricula in different subject areas, but also develop general skills, problem-solving skills and stimulate entrepreneurial spirit. IPVC has also been involved in projects aiming at enhancing local development and innovation particularly through entrepreneurship. PoliEmpreende is one of the examples of such projects, in which IPVC participates since 2007. It is a contest of ideas and business plans that aims to evaluate and reward projects developed and presented by polytechnic students. The contest is developed in several phases with the objective of involving participants in the theme of Entrepreneurship. It is jointly promoted by all Portuguese Polytechnic Institutes and has a regional and a national component. Although this is a competition specially directed to the academic community, external entities may also compete for the Polytechnic Institutes as long as they are part of teams composed mostly of members of the Polytechnic community.

With its objectives strongly aligned with IPVC’s mission and experience, it is believed ARDENT project constitutes  an instrument/tool of leverage of micro and small businesses, adapted to the needs and particularities of the rural environment, and the opportunity of creating a positive environment, to support the emergence and growth of businesses and employment in the Alto Minho region, creating value and promoting local economies, and contributing to the settlement of the local population.

For more information visit Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo website