Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

KVOUCHER — Result In Brief

Project ID: 234542
Funded under: FP7-COH
Country: Netherlands

Business help goes beyond borders

Small businesses can access quality international research and the consulting support they require from a larger network of knowledge institutions (KIs), thanks to a new voucher system that spans several countries.
Business help goes beyond borders
In recent years, knowledge-intensive organisations, or KIs, have come to represent a very useful mechanism in the EU for supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Many European governments and business communities have relied on a system of knowledge vouchers for SMEs to seek the help of KIs in a variety of fields, promoting innovation and competitiveness.

With this in mind, the EU-funded project 'Implementation of a Transeuropean knowledge voucher system' (KVOUCHER) sought to create a pan-European coupon-based solution to help SMEs benefit from consulting or research from KIs. It worked on creating a cross-border voucher system so that a company in one region can 'buy competence' from a KI in another region.

To achieve its aims, the project team identified the success factors related to such schemes and created an experimental network involving seven regions across Europe. It built on existing voucher systems and outlined guidelines for improving current systems and implementing new ones. Work involved developing common specifications for a shared voucher system and a mechanism to adapt it to specific EU environments, analysing where the pilot system could be carried out and outlining measures to evaluate it.

A project achievement that enabled the pilot scheme to operate successfully was a database of knowledge providers in partner regions to create a compatible set of offerings. Another achievement was the network of brokers, considered to be ideal intermediaries between SMEs and foreign KI providers.

Importantly, the project team disseminated the experiences and results of KVOUCHER among key players in the partner regions and beyond, empowering SMEs to seek support. Progress in this direction has also helped strengthen the voucher concept in Europe and ensure its sustainability, representing a noteworthy example of pan-European collaboration. As the voucher idea flourishes, such a dynamic transnational approach is bound to bring innovativeness, competitiveness, and excellence to businesses and industries across Europe.

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