Leather sector support16 February 2003
Greek technology and design centre, Elkede, is a leader in partnering companies in the leather and footwear sector and grooming them to use technology and take an entrepreneurial approach to build brands and become global competitors. Based near Athens, Elkede Technology and Design Centre SA has almost 20 years of experience in programmes that turn sectoral needs and expectations into workable projects, often identifying EU funding sources. They function as a technology-orientated consortium giving support as designers, researchers, consultants and innovators, particularly to SMEs (small and medium-scale enterprises). One third of the corporate profile is made up from 134 leather and footwear companies, with the status of consortium partners and shareholders. They also have a proactive liaison with a leather design school in Italy and with Leicester College in the UK. Elkede supports other sectors such as furniture, marble and textiles, both within and outside Greece. Research and design are key elements of the consortium's policy and their own quality control laboratory is accredited to EN 45001. They also cooperate with other European laboratories in the leather, shoe and safety footwear sectors. CAD-CAM applications are offered as an integral part of their footwear production courses. The value of this cannot be over-stated. Even countries such as Türkiye, relatively proficient in footwear manufacture, employ CAD-CAM for only 30% of shoemaking production. One of Elkede's current projects is the establishment of a footwear training institute in Türkiye. Modern facilities and forward-looking concepts will put a new shine on the shoe-making industry.