The European Union launched last month a second call for proposals for participation in its Worth Partnership Project, offering funding of up to €10,000 for any project involving at least two designers, manufacturers or technology firms in certain sectors, including footwear, from at least two different countries.

The project is funded by the EU under the European Commission's COSME program for the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the sectors of fashion, footwear, leather, furniture, jewelry and accessories.

The proposals for funding can involve coaching, product development, product market positioning, branding, participation in two international events or networking and cross-sector collaboration.

The new call for proposals will expire on Oct. 24. Until then, applicants can log into the Gallery section of the Worth Project's website to look for potential partners to work with and to submit their proposals.

The Confederation of the European Shoe Industry hopes that more shoe companies will respond to this call for proposals. Only a few of them applied for participation in the Worth Project following a first call for proposals that expired last Dec. 31. More than 230 entities from 24 EU member countries responded to the call, and 27 project involving 60 SMEs, start-ups or designers from 20 countries were selected.

The Worth Project aims to support 150 cross-border partnerships over a four-year period. Its organizers recently said that more than 700 “creative minds” from all over Europe had registered on its website, looking for partnerships.

A pilot Worth program ran from 2013 to 2015. It was coordinated by the Institut Français de la Mode (IFM), which worked with other partners in Europe.