The SPICE Group
Science Park and Innovation Center Experts Group
Aims and Organization
SPICE Group is a joint initiative of professionals from technology and science parks, business incubators and innovation centers as well as finance, industry economic development promotion and governmental institutions. The principle of SPICE Group is to work on a basis of mutual personal trust, in an open, creative atmosphere. The Members are acting as individuals who are dedicated to the purposes of the SPICE Group defined in this document. Institutions are welcomed if they wish to be represented, express their point of view and contribute to the activities. SPICE Group will work free of any institutional political or religious interest.
Following an initiative of the ADT, Association of German Technology and Business Incubation Centers, the first meeting of the network took place in Berlin, November 20, 1991. At this meeting it was decided to meet regularly and to establish this network with an interest in helping to establish and develop technology parks and business incubators, to promote entrepreneurship and to support international collaboration of small and medium sized enterprises in Europe.
During the first five years of activities the Work Group became a strong network integrating not only the East and Central European initiatives but also organizations from other continents. To reflect the global perspective the name "SPICE - Group, Science Park and Innovation Center Expert Group" was introduced for future activities of the network and the basic document "Aims and Organization" has been adapted.
SPICE Group is interested in supporting initiatives to establish a formal organization (associations or networks) of innovation centers in countries and regions where such networks do not yet exist. At the same time SPICE Group will seek to secure its independence and working capabilities as a global initiative.
Article 1: Aims and Tasks
The aim of SPICE Group is to increase knowledge about business incubation, economic development, entrepreneurship and technology transfer by acquiring projects jointly carried out by Members to
- increase the exchange of information and experience in the fields of regional economic development, business and innovation centers as well as technology and science parks
- promoting the establishment of regional, national and international business cooperation, networks or associations and strengthening their cooperation
- transferring know how and information in the field of business incubation and management of small and medium companies
- developing programs for education and training for managers of technology parks, business incubators, regional economic development agencies as well as small and medium companies
- creating and developing an informal trans-national network as a general link between existing or developing national networks
The activities of SPICE Group are focused on trans-institutional cooperation including professionals from all institutions involved with business incubation programs, especially government, public agencies, research and education institutes, enterprises, finance and science/technology parks as well as business and innovation centers. The activities of SPICE Group draw and rely on the personal commitment of the members.
Article 2: Members and Guests
To reflect the aims of SPICE Group from each country with business incubation and/or science/ technology park activities at least three representatives per country should be invited as Members; preferentially from the following sectors:
- Professionals representing a national association of business and innovation centers/technoparks
- Professionals representing public/governmental institutions working for the promotion of economic development, entrepreneurship or innovation policies
- Professionals active in the fields of business incubation, innovation, entrepreneurship or technoparks, industry (e.g. manager of a business and innovation center, specialized consultant).
Membership can be acquired by invitation by the Board or sending an informal application to the Board of SPICE Group (including a signed copy of this document and - for full membership - accompanied by a recommendation of at least one full SPICE Member) and approval of this application by the Board. Leading representatives of national and international associations of business incubators and/or technology parks (president, CEO, managing director) may join SPICE Group without an invitation.
The categories of participation are
Membership in general is personal. But a member might choose an institutional membership by indicating this when signing this document. However, also in the case of institutional membership, the person who signed this document will be considered personal member and shall fulfill the criteria of such membership. Full membership only begins after the first annual coordination fee (see article 5) was paid.
Individuals interested in finding out if full SPICE membership is beneficial may apply for a "trial membership". This membership includes all rights and obligations of full membership excluding the right to become member of the Board, to vote at the General Assembly, to use "SPICE Group" for project acquisitions and to establish SPICE substructures. ICECE membership should be terminated or transferred to full membership after a period of time of 6 to 24 months.
Based on a proposal made by a full SPICE member the Board may invite individuals to become Honorary Member of SPICE Group and/or the Board of SPICE Group, if the respective person
|d.||Guests and Observers|
Guests might be allowed to attend SPICE Meetings based on a recommendation of a member, but regularly will have to pay a fee for participation. Observers might be invited by the Board of SPICE Group to participate in any specific event. Guests and Observers do not have the privilege of continuous information or regular invitation to SPICE events. They are invited on a case by case basis.
Article 3: Structure of "SPICE Group"
The organizational structure of SPICE Group consists of the following components
The General Assembly consists of all members (institutional or individual). The General Assembly decides on the budget, the account statements and elects the members of the Board of Directors. To take decisions fifty percent of the Members have to be present or properly represented (based on a proxy in writing) by another Member. Members may also submit a written statement regarding a proposed resolution. If not stated differently in the invitation, every meeting of SPICE Group shall function as a General Assembly.
|3.2||Board of Directors|
The Board of Directors consists of the President, at least two Vice Presidents and at least two Regional Directors. The President and the Vice Presidents form the Executive Board which is responsible for the operative business, proposes the budget and submits the annual statement of accounts to the General Assembly. The members of the Board of Directors are elected for a three year term by a vote (majority) of the General Assembly.
Regional Directors also can be the representatives of geographical SPICE substructures (see Article 8). To better serve the needs of certain geographical areas, the Board of Directors can appoint additional Regional Directors. The term of appointment usually is one year if not otherwise stated.
If the Governmental representatives in SPICE Work Group decide to form a Consulting Council, the Board will seek the advice of this Council in matters of strategic importance.
SPICE Group operates at least one Secretariat for all organizational and administrational matters. The Secretariats at the time of this charter coming into effect are in Berlin, and Poznan. The first bank account was established in Germany. The future locations of secretariats and bank accounts are decided by the Board of Directors and preferably should be at the location of the Member of the Board of Directors responsible for the finance of SPICE Group.
Article 4: Rights and Responsibilities of Members
The Members commit themselves to collecting relevant information from their home countries as well as distributing information from SPICE Group through their network. Members support each other mutually in acquiring projects and finance for projects and are ready for joint project activities. If such projects are acquired with the help of SPICE Group a financial contribution corresponding to the level of support provided by SPICE Group will be donated to the secretariat.
Members are invited to participate in every meeting of the work group. They will actively participate in preparing the meetings. Members have the right to receive regular information and participate at all SPICE Group events. Members usually cover their own costs for attending meetings. The hosts of meetings seek to cover local costs (organization and accommodation for members).
SPICE Group is an informal organization. Members contribute by hosting meetings, collecting and distributing information, providing organizational support and taking over part of the costs for general activities by in kind services.
Members have the right to use the logo of SPICE Group on their letterheads or business cards to inform about their membership. The use of the logo for other purposes is possible after approval by the Board. The right to use the logo expires if membership is terminated or the membership dues are not within 3 months after the invoice was mailed.
Article 5: Membership dues
All members of SPICE Group have to pay a basic annual coordination fee for the services of the Secretariat irrespective of the kind of membership. The annual coordination fee may be changed by the General Assembly.
The annual coordination fee for a personal membership is EURO 225,--
For institutional membership, the annual coordination fee is EURO 390,-- and includes the right to nominate one additional representative of the institution for membership.
Members from developing, "low income" countries may pay a reduced fee (50 per cent). During the trial period of membership (ICECE status), the annual contribution of such members can be further reduced. These reductions only are granted if an application from the respective member has been approved by the Executive Board. It is expected that those members pay the full fee as soon as their situation allows.
Coordination fees exceptionally can be paid on a barter basis (e.g. for hosting a Meeting according to the full standard of Article 4 or providing exceptional services to the Work Group) by decision of the Board.
To contribute to the financial basis of SPICE Group, Members commit themselves to voluntarily donating an adequate amount from project finance acquired with the support of the Work Group (see Article 8).
Article 6: Events
Participation at SPICE Group Meetings in principle is restricted to Members. Meetings will take place in different cities, preferably in Central or East European countries. If possible, such meetings should be held in connection with other conferences, workshops, seminars or exhibitions to support the international participation of guests and to broaden the possibilities for personal contacts and information exchange. Preferably members of SPICE Group should be hosts of the meetings.
Additionally "SPICE Forums" can be organized. These events are open to everyone interested and fees for participation should be charged to non-members.
Article 7: Projects
SPICE Group supports projects in all areas related with business incubation, technology and science parks, entrepreneurship support, technology transfer, innovation and regional economic development. This namely includes the following activities:
- collection and distribution of printed or electronically distributed information, for example by newsletters (e.g. newsletters, SPICE UPDATE) or collections of information (e.g. SPICA Directory, the Directory of Science Park and Innovation Center Associations, and SPICA Directory Online).
- Development of and support to "International Training Initiatives" aimed at combining national training initiatives for mutual benefit.
- Improvement of Electronic Communication between innovation centers and their associations including the creation and operation of an Interactive Information and Training System.
- Business Contacts between Members to develop an international structure of collaboration.
The goal of SPICE Group is to develop the SPICE network as well as to assist its members with the set up of business development projects in national or international tenders or direct contractual arrangements
Article 8: SPICE Group Substructures
SPICE members may establish any kind of temporary project oriented or permanent general formal or informal organizations using the name "SPICE Group" with a supplement describing the character of this organization (e.g. geographical, or project content) if the following conditions are fulfilled:
|a.||The aims and activities of the substructure comply with the aims and conditions of SPICE Group as defined in this document.|
|b.||Information of the SPICE Board has been secured by sending a written application to the SPICE Secretariat about the intention to use the name "SPICE Group" for such an organization and within one week (for projects) or one months (for permanent substructures) from receiving such information the SPICE Secretariat has approved or not articulated any objections or concerns.|
|c.||The majority of members in the "SPICE substructure" are (paying) SPICE or (paying) ICECE members.|
|d.||Information about the work development and results of the "SPICE substructure" are made available to other SPICE members as far as this does not conflict with the conditions defined by the project financiers.|
If different groups of SPICE members intend to apply for the same project, priority to use the "SPICE label" will be granted to the member who informed the SPICE Secretariat first. However, competing activities are not generally excluded and in the "good spirit of SPICE Group" a mutual understanding will be sought.
Project related substructures will pay a defined portion of the project income (excluding expenses) to SPICE Group. This portion should range between 2 and 5 per cent. Permanent substructures do not pay additional fees to SPICE Group (except the contributions related with projects as described above) as long as all members of the substructure are members of SPICE Group as well.