Potential risks and mitigating risks

Risk 1 (medium impact) – Lack of coordination or miscommunication between project team members that could lead to decreased efficiency in the project implementation. This risk is inherent to any team work, especially when the teams are geographically dispersed.

Although each partner has its main responsibilities, the project will be a joint endeavor and partners will cooperate closely on a daily basis. Additionally, regular project meetings are planned to ensure all the project partners are up to date with other partner’s activities, therefore making cross-border cooperation smooth and efficient. In addition to the project team, other employees of the project partners will be informed of project activities, so as to ensure that possible changes within the project team do not affect project implementation. Based on experiences from the project preparation phase, all partners meet set deadlines and respect others’ time and contribution, which is a strong positive signal that this risk is not likely to turn into a problem. Any communication problems will be addressed in due time by team members, over email, phone or in person.

In order to mitigate the threats stemming from geographical distance, teams will be in regular communication over email, phone, Skype in order to keep all partners in the loop on all relevant project events. Partners will make the effort to visit each others’ events and deepen cooperation by doing so. The risk is not likely to materialise since partners developed regular communication even in project preparation phase.

Regular partner meetings are the main mitigation measure of this risk. Partners will meet at least once in every reporting period to agree on upcoming tasks and activities.

Risk 2 (medium impact) – Since investment/works are crucial to a sustainable environment for CBC clusters to operate in, this risk is assessed as an important step in planning phase. Two elements to the risk were identified: 1. lack of interest of potential suppliers due to lack of information and 2. complicated procurement procedures discouraging bidders. Complicated procurement procedures sometimes can turn away smaller companies that do not have experience of taking part in procurements under PRAG rules.

Project teams will mitigate this risk through a holistic approach with several key elements:

  1. Ensure the specifications are precise and potential bidders have sufficient time and all the necessary information at their disposal.

A lack of information can be successfully mitigated by having concise and precise specifications in the tender documents. Tenders will be open long enough for all interested bidders to be realistically able to fill out the forms and gather the requested documents.

  1. Contact person appointed in every tender will be open to answer questions from prospective bidders to mitigate the risk of not receiving bids due to misunderstanding of procedures.
  2. In depth supply market research was conducted in the project development phase. In case of equipment malfunction, the subcontractor will be responsible for shortcomings, in accordance with the tender provisions and the contract signed. Supervision of works will be an integral part of any contract signed and will thus ensure that quality of the final product is adequate.

Risk 3 (high impact) – Lack of interest by target group (notably SMEs in Sombor and Belišće) who are invited to join the clusters. This can stem from lack of access to information about the project and opportunity to join the CBC clusters; from their lack of awareness of benefits from joining CBC clusters; and from a general lack of interest to take part in project activities. Lack of business opportunities currently present in the CBC area might have created a skeptical attitude among SMEs. Since the project directly aims to improve business conditions in the target area, raising awareness of the potential for change should also change attitudes among SMEs.

This risk is significant in impact and as such was paid special attention during project preparation phase. The extensive preparation and wide-reaching communications plan are mitigation measures against this risk.

This risk will be mitigated through a comprehensive promotional and communications campaign, in electronic and print media, online and through promotional leaflets and brochures.

Information about the project and specifically about the benefits of joining CBC clusters will be readily available via website, TV and radio shows, articles in print media, social media, promotional leaflets and brochures  and by direct contact with project teams. Opening and closing conferences are another channel of distributing information.

This comprehensive campaign will distribute information about the project but also raise awareness among the target group about the many benefits provided by the quadruple helix  through the project. Increasing market range, finding partners in the CBC region and building necessary networks will all be presented to a wide audience of SMEs in the programme area.