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Support the growth of ICT innovative Creative Industries SMEs

Specific Challenge: SMEs represent 85% of all actors in the creative industry sector. They co-exist with global players and often face difficulties in adopting state of the art ICT technologies and accessing finance. Moreover, they operate on fragmented and localised target markets and have to bear high market costs which affect their international competitiveness. In this context, ICT tools and technological innovation are fundamental for the creative industries and their competitiveness. They widen creative possibilities and improve efficiency in all sectors.

The goal is to increase the competitiveness of the European creative industries by stimulating ICT innovation in SMEs, by effectively building up and expanding a vibrant EU technological ecosystem for the creative industries' needs and by fostering exchanges between the creative industries SMEs and providers of ICT innovative solutions.

Scope: The scope is to stimulate the adoption and deployment of innovative ICT solutions by the creative industries SMEs. This can be achieved through collaboration with ICT providers and by accelerating and supporting the growth of European creative industries.

The topic should be addressed by the following actions:

a.      Innovation Actions to support the creative industries SMEs in leveraging emerging ICT technologies (e.g. 3D, augmented reality, advanced user interfaces, visual computing) for the development of innovative products, tools, applications and services with high commercial potential. Beyond the driving participation of creative industry SMEs and the participation of ICT technology providers, the involvement of research and innovation centres is encouraged. Proposals should be clearly driven by user-needs and demonstrate the market demand for the solution and the innovation potential. Solutions should be cost-effective, market-ready and target international markets.

b.      Coordination and Support Actions to stimulate the growth of European creative industries exploiting advanced ICT for the development of new products and services and ICT SMEs innovating in the field of creative industries.

Activities should:

-       include, where beneficial,  investor readiness support (e.g. explaining investors' requirements, assisting in the development of business plans …).

-       connect creative industries SMEs with appropriate sources of funding (e.g. loans, venture capital, business angels investment, crowd-funding …) and with international business networks.

-       increase the market access of creative industries SMEs across borders.

The proposals should encompass a broad geographical coverage, stimulating innovation not only in the leading regions of Europe.

Expected impact:

a.      Innovation Actions

         Tens of innovative solutions with high market potential ready to be deployed by European creative industries SMEs.

         Stronger collaboration between ICT innovative technologies providers and creative industries SMEs to improve the competitive position of the European creative industries.

b.      Coordination and Support Actions

         An established sustainable network of ICT-driven innovation multipliers active in the creative industries sectors with proven record of stimulating innovation.

         Tens of examples of fruitful business relations enabled by the network.

Types of action:

a.       Innovation Actions – The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 0.5 million and EUR 1 million for a period between 6 and 18 months would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts or duration.

b.      Coordination and Support Actions