CFECPR › Uckermark (Brandenburg), Parchim (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania), Sudy Visit, 16 - 20 January 2006
An international review panel led by the OECD LEED Programme visited the districts of Uckermark (Brandenburg) and Parchim (Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania) from 16 to 20 January 2006. A regional workshop has been held in Berlin on 5 April 2006 to discuss with local stakeholders and representatives of national ministries and representatives of the two East German Länder ministries preliminary findings and draft policy recommendations and to make case study presentations of international learning models/best practices.
It must first be recognised that entrepreneurship policies in the districts of Uckermark and Parchim operate in a very challenging economic and social context. A shrinking population, high unemployment and insufficient rates of job creation are the central development challenges for the districts of Parchim and Uckermark. The districts' territories are characterised by regional diversity. They combine within their administrative borders rural and sparely populated areas with 20 inhabitants per square kilometre and urban centres of economic importance. On the other hand both districts also have significant opportunities. In particular, they benefit from proximity to economic development centres, such as Berlin and Hamburg, and are well connected to Poland and potential exists to exploit these important markets and supply chains. Entrepreneurship activity will be very important to overcoming challenges and exploiting opportunities.
Entrepreneurship, and the stimulation of entrepreneurial thinking and creativity, are important ingredients for the generation of new and better jobs and incomes that can, in the long run, foster the districts' capacities to adjust to economic changes. It is the shift towards growth activities, and the stimulation of innovation and local competitiveness, that will bring the districts forward in their local economic development path. The levels of entrepreneurship activity measured by business stocks and start rates in the districts are diverse. Whereas Parchim matches the national level with 11.6 business registrations per 1 000 persons, Uckermark reaches only 7.7, and thus ranks as one of the poorest performing districts in Germany. Policy has an important role to play in helping to increase entrepreneurship activity locally. There is already substantial, good quality entrepreneurship policy support available in each district from the Federal, Land and District levels and there are initiatives to tailor them to the needs of the districts. Furthermore, many of the initiatives in place can be considered as best practice within OECD Member countries.
Both the discussion of strengths and weaknesses, and the recommendations are not meant to draw-up an exhaustive picture of the local scenario, leading to immediate and concrete policy actions. The aim is, rather, to stimulate and catalyse a process, whereby regions, cities and districts in East Germany can stand back and reflect on their overall options, needs and priorities, by facilitating an exchange of information on innovations and good practices from a range of OECD Member countries. The key messages resulting from the local case study area, in terms of suggested policy actions and initiatives, are summarised in an Action Plan.