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Innovation and Internationalisation services by BENE – I²BENE

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - I2BENE (Innovation and Internationalisation services by BENE – I²BENE)

Reporting period: 2014-06-01 to 2014-12-31

Innovation services 2014 – Enterprise Europe Brussels @

The delivery of innovation services to Brussels-Capital Region SMEs was run in the 2nd semester of 2014 as a pilot action within the frame of the Enterprise Europe Brussels new activities and support actions to SME internationalisation via innovation.

These services were aimed at enhancing the innovation management capacity in SMEs having their headquarters in the very heart of Europe and willing to boost their growth beyond the Belgian borders with long-term actions creating an impact in their business development.
SMEs benefitting from these services were selected for their characteristics of significant innovation activities and a high potential for internationalisation, in line with the criteria set by the European Commission and the funnel approach and methodology defined by the innovation advisors at Enterprise Europe Brussels @ For the pilot, SMEs complying with the required criteria were mainly identified in the priority sectors of the Brussels-Capital Region, further to internal discussions among EEB advisors and in close collaboration with the cluster managers and sector-related Business Unit Managers of Enterprise Europe Brussels host organisation coordinating the pilot.

SMEs identified as potential beneficiaries of the assessment of their innovation management capacities went through a pre-selection process aimed at checking whether the company had or not the right profile to go through a full and deep assessment via the IMPR³ove methodology and platform. This resulted in a pre-assessment of 6 companies and a full IMPR³ove assessment of only 4 of them.
Although the pilot services were run on a very limited timespan, their most significant results were the following:

1. High visibility of the services within the SMEs community more closely interacting with Enterprise Europe Brussels or paying particular attention to innovation-related information, with articles published in the « BrusselsEconomics » and « BrusselsStar » e-newspapers, in the communication channels (traditional and social media) of Enterprise Europe Brussels, of the 5 clusters / groups of companies, of NCP Brussels Brussels, of
2. the delivery of the EIMC (Enhancement of Innovation Management Capacity) services and the 2-rounds of innovation assessments, which were carried out with 4 selected SMEs.
3. Analysis – together with the assessed companies – of the recommendations resulting from the 2-rounds of innovation assessments, discussion and exchange between the companies’ management and the innovation expert built around the main elements and the action plan to deploy as a consequence
4. Some early stage recommendations resulted from the innovation assessments and retained by the SMEs as part of their action plans and already set better tracking of best profitable products,
a. implementation of internal procedures for customers’ management,
b. more focused selection of sources of added value information,
c. real and deep analysis of intellectual assets protection,
d. identification of most suitable financing sources/instruments.

Interestingly enough, the interest welcoming expressed on such services varied consistently from one sector to another, with quite a “lack of responsiveness” in one specific priority sector, whose reasons were deeply analysed afterwards by the team.

The pilot action allowed Enterprise Europe Brussels Innovation experts to get valuable experience so as to adapt the approach for 2015-2016 as follows:

1. The sectors: opening up the scope beyond the regional innovation priority sectors and reaching in such a way a new SME community, less familiar with EEB innovation services. This is expected to create an impact at regional level in other sectors than the most visible ones
2. The communication: Services will be accessible to a very selected and motivated community of SMEs standing out of the crowd via a “context” process, followed by a selection and the award (actually the service delivery to the “winning” companies). An official communication campaign will be orchestrated ad hoc.