DeFINE was a three year (2018-2021) collaborative project co-funded by the European Commission’s COSME programme which aimed to support the fusion of radical technologies and innovation with the European fashion and design industries.
Over the last three years, the project built a network of fashion-tech start-ups, SMEs, incubators, accelerators, financiers and investors through dedicated events, online platform and social media channels, it provided mentoring programme sessions to innovative fashion-tech start-ups and SMEs, and promoted knowledge sharing and networking activities for the benefit of the whole fashion-tech European Community.
One of the final resources produced on DeFINE was the project evaluation report, which included a special document with best practice recommendations for industry. This document draws on data from DeFINE events, interviews and surveys to present a fascinating picture of what fashion-technology networks can learn going forwards. It includes challenges faced by fashion-technology entrepreneurs, successes from the mentoring programme itself and lessons learned from the project overall.
The mentoring programme featured 27 businesses overall, each with a lead supervisor from a DeFINE partner institution. Each of these mentees received an average of 65 hours of business support mentoring. The lead supervisor coordinated the details of the mentee’s engagement with the programme, suggesting mentors and areas the business could use ad-hoc technical support.
In addition to one-to-one mentoring, the DeFINE Project iteratively promoted a knowledge-sharing activity, providing the European fashion-tech community insights from industry experts and professionals (webinars, events recordings and the final DeFINE project video are available on the DeFINE Youtube channel).
There are a number of extractable lessons that can be gleaned from data gathered on the DeFINE programme. Our hope is that part of the DeFINE legacy can be to influence fashion-technology networks in the future, ensuring that collaborations going forward can build off the foundations of the project.
To discover best practices from DeFINE, you can download the guidelines and recommendations here: