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MINT action line of the SPRINT programme

Managing the Integration of New Technology (MINT) is a SPRINT action to promote the absorption of new technologies by SMEs by using experienced management innovation consultants.

MINT presently supports over a hundred assignments and case-studies. All of the sixteen European ...
Managing the Integration of New Technology (MINT) is a SPRINT action to promote the absorption of new technologies by SMEs by using experienced management innovation consultants.

MINT presently supports over a hundred assignments and case-studies. All of the sixteen European Union MINT contractors have already begun their respective operations in addition to parallel schemes currently operating in Norway and Sweden.

The second MINT contractors workshop was held on 20-21 January 1994 and brought together some sixty national contractors, national experts, some CIT delegates (Committee for Innovation and Technology Transfer), and consultants from a number of EFTA countries.

After reviewing the current status of MINT contractors the needs of participating firms were assessed taking into consideration the various industrial sectors concerned and the different national/regional cultures. Needs and methodologies were compared and ideas and solutions for marketing MINT were investigated. Subsidiarity and flexibility were identified as key properties. There was however emphasis on the need for a common approach to ensure a European dimension to the scheme. Practical and emerging issues were also investigated by highlighting the aims and objectives.

The lower size limit of firms participating in MINT has been reduced from fifty to twenty-five employees. The intention is to continue to target SMEs with more than fifty employees, but to allow contractors to exercise more flexibility. The key characteristic is that target firms should be of sufficient size, and have the organizational structure, to take a strategic view of their business development potential.

It has become increasingly evident that by restricting MINT to manufacturing SMEs, the initiative has ignored an important wealth-creating subset of innovative SMEs in the service sector. Subject to supply and demand constraints, MINT applications from the service sector are now allowed. Targeted in particular are knowledge-based SMEs of 25-150 employees, with the potential of adding significant value at least at regional level.

In order to identify and promote the use of efficient and tried diagnostic tools, a small number of "MINT-marked" tools are being selected and will be tested transnationally. Also, because there is a minority demand for expert advance which is not generally available in some Member States (e.g. value analysis), cross-border consultancy is encouraged and assisted to promote transnational synergies.

The extension of MINT to various EFTA countries is now possible and further encourages a redistribution of assignments according to the size of each country involved.

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