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PT Innovative

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PT Innovative (PT Innovative)

Reporting period: 2014-07-01 to 2014-12-31

Action “Establishing services enhancing the innovation management capacity of SME's in the Enterprise Europe Network”
According to the call, the general objective of this project was to contribute to smart growth in the European Union by increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of investments in research, development and innovation and by contributing to a better and more efficient connection of actors along the innovation chain.
In order to achieve the above objective, two main target groups and two specific objectives were defined:
a) beneficiaries of the SME Instrument: at this level, the Portuguese consortium has provided Key Account Management support to a single Portuguese SME, and IAPMEI delivered this service. The support provided was in line with the approved work programme, i.e. identification of bottlenecks to the creation of economic impact, elaboration of an action plan to address these bottlenecks, identification of a suitable coach to work along with the SME in the implementation of the SME Instrument approved project.
b) selected small and medium-sized enterprises with significant innovation activities and a high potential for internationalisation: the specific objective was to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of innovation processes in those companies. This service, called 'Enhancing the innovation management capacity of SME”, was delivered by three partners IAPMEI, ADI and CEC.
The envisaged outcome of the pilot project was to provide services to 30 SMEs in 2014, prioritising all the beneficiaries of support under the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument. The project has delivered “7-day service packages” over the country to 29 SMEs, plus 1 incomplete service due to internal constraints of the related SME (the contact person for this service left the company and it was not possible to conclude the service in due time).
Since there was only one successful project under the SME Instrument, from a company based in the geographical area covered by the IAPMEI, the related KAM service was provided by the IAPMEI. Another 29 SMEs benefited from 'Enhancing the Innovation Management Capacity of SME” services.

The Portuguese Consortium used the tool “Innovation Scoring” for the KAM and EIMC services developed. This tool provided an innovation diagnostic audit of the SME, which was the base for the elaboration of the tailored action plan to improve the SME's capacity to manage innovation processes.

Forty companies were informed about the opportunity of receiving counselling and support for enhancing their innovation management capacity. Those companies that expressed their interest in the EIMC service were invited to answer the “Innovation Intake Check”, during a meeting held with the Innovation Expert.
The tailored action plan was presented by the Innovation Expert to the SME during a dedicated meeting (either face-to-face or via skype), thus allowing the SME to give its feedback; this action plan was designed to tackle the identified bottlenecks within the company and several actions to improve the company efficiency in innovation management were proposed.
Partner IAPMEI provided EIMC support to 9 SMEs; partner ADI provided EIMC support to 15 SMEs and partner CEC provided EIMC support to 5 SMEs, one of which, incomplete, due to the company´s constraints already referred.
The SME beneficiary of the KAM service reported that Phase I was an important step to better understand the markets and to develop a business strategy, and to become aware of different sources of funding, such as risk capital.
One main goal of the Phase I proposal was the submission of one application to Phase II. In spite of the short timing, the company succeeded to submit its Phase II proposal in the cut-off date of 18th March, 2014. The company considered the impact of Phase I project very positive.

Due to the short time duration of this pilot project, the assessment of the impact was not possible to carry out within its implementation. The impact will be measured through a process of dedicated follow-up of the companies’ internationalization activities performed (services granted by the EEN, namely, technology and business cooperation profiles).

Lessons learnt:
- The 7-days package is very short to give an effective impulse to the SME we are trying to support;
- As a pilot project, there was a time consuming learning process for all entities and staff involved (EASME, host structures, staff, companies etc.);
However,
- The explanation of the EIMC service to the SME should occur well before the delivery of the service, giving the selected companies time to prepare for their involvement and appropriate key concepts and practices, in view of making the most of the project.

Last but not least, the companies to whom the KAM and EIMC services were provided referred that these activities were beneficial for their innovation management strategies towards a stronger internationalisation.
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