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H2020

BISONet PLUS ENH Report Summary

Project ID: 674849
Funded under: H2020-EU.2.3.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BISONet PLUS ENH (Business Innovation Support Network for the Czech Republic – Enhancing the innovation management capacities of SMEs by EEN in 2015-2016)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The overall objective of the “BISONet PLUS ENH” project for years 2015-2016 was to deliver services to enhance innovation management capacity of SMEs, in particular to the SME Instrument beneficiaries.

Project succeeded in achieving all specific objectives set in the beginning:
a) Building up the capacity of EEN in the Czech Republic to assure availability of services “Enhancing the innovation management capacity of SMEs” by close cooperation, mutual trainings in smE-MPOWER methodology and sharing of experience.
b) Implement the services of “Enhancing the innovation management capacity of SMEs” in the Czech Republic. Under WP2 “Enhancing SME innovation management capacity” both project partners visited, performed needs analysis and prepared action plans for 174 companies. The companies covered different technological fields e.g. biotechnology, ICT, automation, electronic, electrical, engineering etc.
c) Deliver targeted support to beneficiaries of SME Instrument in facilitating coaching to address specific innovation weaknesses. Under WP1 “Key account management for the beneficiaries of the SME Instrument” 8 SME Instrument beneficiaries received services of KAM and 7 out of them accepted coaching services. The last company did not accept offered coaching due to the fact that the right coach was not identified from the European coach database. The coaching services were mainly focused on developing business strategies for international markets.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Thanks to the project BISONet Plus ENH 2015-2016 innovation management capacity assessment and support services to SMEs were further developed in the Czech Republic and offered to wider spectrum of innovative SMEs.

KAM services were provided for 8 companies (6 cases under phase 1 and 2 cases under phase 2).

Needs analysis carried on and action plans developed (EIMC) were provided to 174 SMEs (higher number than initially planned). Out of these 121 cases were finalised. The consortium partners are currently working on 52 cases which started in 2015-2016 but have not yet been finalised by 31st December 2016.

Both partners use the same methodology and approach towards companies ensuring the standardized services are delivered throughout the whole Czech Republic. There was unique occasion to map innovation needs of SMEs, which means new possibility to provide Enterprise Europe Network services. Many new clients (SMEs) were identified during the project and long-term cooperation were established. Some of the clients are potential candidates for the scalling-up project in progress (COSME call “Support young innovative companies scaling-up their activities in the Single Market”).

Progress of the project implementation was regularly monitored and checked during the consortium meetings of BISONet PLUS consortium. These meetings were organised 4 times per year, so in total 8 consortium meetings took place. To ensure higher level of standardised services joint trainings were organised (all staff involved in EIMC activities/services) took part at least in one of them– one in December 2015 (Brno), one in July 2016 (Prague) and one in November 2016 (Brno). During the trainings ways of using the assessment tool and working with companies were explained, discussed and reviewed.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The biggest expected impacts foreseen by companies which received EIMC services are as follows:
a) Improved internal processes
b) Clarification of company´s goals/targets for next 5 years and steps to be taken to reach them.
c) Improved work with customers (better knowledge of customer needs)

Both project partners were active in developing new support tools and programs for Czech SMEs – e.g. for the companies which received the Seal of Excellence the regional scheme “SME-Instrument Brno” was initiated and then implemented by JIC. TC AV and also JIC were in regular contact with the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic to discuss the possibility to introduce nation-wide scheme for Seal of Excellence holders, as well. Companies which were selected and offered EIMC services were also offered regular EEN services such as internationalization and/or partnership services etc. if those were relevant for the needs identified during the needs analysis. Relevant EIMC clients were introduced to SME-Instrument program.

Although this project was very successful, valued highly by participating companies in many cases (especially in WP2), overall budget for Czech Republic in the next project period was significantly reduced due to low success rate of Czech companies in SME Instrument (WP1). This will possibly slow down the activities covered by this project in 2017-2018, lower its impact, and as outcome likely further decrease the success rate of Czech companies in SME Instrument. This is not a good news as in the period of 2015-2016, Czech SMEs were not very interested to participated in SME-Instrument programme. Both partners tried to address low interest in SME-Instrument programme by individually addressing potential applicants and organising several workshops and seminars in cooperation with EASME, NCPs and other stakeholders (e.g. Ministry of Industry and Trade). It proved to work to a certain extent, because 3 of later SME-Instrument beneficiaries participated in these workshops before successfully applying for SME-Instrument grant. Especially, the close cooperation with the Czech NCP proved to work well.

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