Promotion of Food International Trade through cross-border collaboration (Pro-FIT)

Duration: 1.10.2008 - 30.6.2010
Thematic cluster: SMEs
Priority: 2. economically competitive and innovative region
Direction of support: Creating and supporting innovative and competitive environments
Financier: Interreg IVA (Central Baltic)
Total funding: 368 737 €
ERDF funding: 288 814 €


Food and Drink (F&D) industry is one of the backbones of the EU economy. Finnish F&D profits from cutting edge R&D on food and nutrition and produces a large scale of health foods with important export potential as product from Nordic area. The Estonian companies are economically highly dynamic and have potential to quality raw material. Cross-border collaboration may optimize F&D strength and create economic development in the area. But 99% of the EU F&D companies are of small and medium category (SME) that need help to identify markets, consumer needs and desires, develop products or solve food international logistics. Pro-FIT was a unique cross-border joint development project prepared by Finnish and Estonian experts. The need for Pro-FIT was clearly expressed by experts and authorities (e.g. Suomalaisen ruoan edistämisohjelma 30.6.08; Elintarvikepäivät 05/2008; FITIM-project press conference 01/2008).

Pro-FIT had Finnish - Estonian joint implementation, financing and staffing. Through cross-border collaboration Pro-FIT developed a joint solution to help SMEs gain foreign market entries and develop food international trade under the joint marketing label of Nordic food. Thus Pro-FIT enhanced economic development and competitiveness in Southern Finland and Estonia, and co-operation and partnership of relevant Finnish and Estonian experts, universities research and development centers optimized strength and creates a sound basis necessary training, for transmission of information, support and technical assistance to F&D SMEs and develops F&D cluster cross-border collaboration.

The project concentrated on products with important export potential such as:


1. Organic food
2. Dietary and other special products
3. Products from nature


Pro-FIT pilot phase was organized with the EU, Central Baltic Interreg 4A and local public funding. Therefore participation in activities offered during the pilot phase was free of charge to all participants.


Project integrated relevant interest groups as well as food industry and trade from Southern Finland and Estonia and created for example the Pro-FIT training package.

It helped food and drink (F&D) SMEs in food international trade and competitiveness.

Project provided the F&D SMEs the following results:

1. Cross-border co-operation between Finnish and Estonian F&D SMSs and relevant experts
2. Targeted information flow on food trade and marketing
3. Promotion of knowhow on international F&D trade through training and working together
 4. Easy access to cutting edge development expertise at reduced costs
5. Strength through joint ventures, synergy advantage through common interests, exchange of expertise and experiences


Pro-FIT organized for example:


- Four Seminars for F&D SMEs:

1. Preconditions for internationalization
2. Target market understanding
3. Footsteps to international markets
4. Tools and methods for product development



Laurea University of Applied Sciences (lead partner)
Country & Region: Finland, Uusimaa
ERDF funding: 184 593€
Amount of eligible national funding: 61 531€


TFTAK, Competence Center of Food and Fermentation Technologies
Country & Region: Estonia, Põhja-Eesti
ERDF funding: 104 221€
Amount of eligible national funding: 18 392€


For more information, please contact:

Susanna Ba

Laurea University of Applied Sciences