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Enhancing INNovation management capacity of CATalan small and medium enterprises

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - INNCAT (Enhancing INNovation management capacity of CATalan small and medium enterprises)

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

As part of the Horizon 2020 Innovation in SMEs Work Programme 2014–2015, the call “Enhancing the innovation management capacity of SMEs” proposed the offering of assessment, mentoring and coaching services to SMEs with the objective of increasing and accelerating the economic returns from innovation.
Through the project INNCAT, ACCIÓ (Catalan Agency for Business Competitiveness) has offered in 2014 the following innovation services in the region of Catalonia to 17 SMEs:
• Key Account Management (KAM) to the beneficiaries of the first SME Instrument calls, offering support in the coach selection with the objective to empower the company to commercialise its innovation.
• Innovation Management (EIMC) to SMEs with significant innovation activities and a high potential for internationalization, with the objective to enhance their innovation management capacities.
Key Account Management (KAM):
Each SME beneficiary of the Horizon 2020 SME instrument has access to a free business innovation coaching service (3-days for Phase 1 beneficiaries and 12-days for Phase 2 beneficiaries) offered by the European Commission. These services are offered additionally to the grants received by the SMEs for their innovation project, with the main objective to help them overcome the challenge of bringing a new product or service to the market and, thus, bridge the so called innovation valley of death.
It is the role of the KAM to help the SME make the most of the coaching service, offering them a short list of suitable coaches to collaborate with and supporting them through all process. In 2014, ACCIÓ offered through INNCAT KAM services to 7 Catalan SMEs beneficiaries of the very first SME Instrument cut-off (June 2014).
KAM services offered by ACCIÓ followed an easy 4-step process where 1) the company was contacted by the KAM to exchange general information. Once the company accepted receiving the service, a business innovation need analysis was performed using an open-source tool developed under an European Project (sME-mPOWER). 2) The result of the analysis was used by the KAM to select 3 suitable coaches from the European Commission Database; 3) the company selected the coach and started the business coaching sessions; 4) the service was closed and KAM gathered feedback for improving forthcoming services.
By the end of 2014, 6 SMEs reached the coach selection step and were ready to start receiving the coaching services.
Innovation Management (EIMC):
To help improve innovation management capacities in SMEs, ACCIÓ offered to Catalan SME assessment services using IMP3rove, a tool which demonstrates compliance to the innovation management standard CEN/TS 16555-1. The services were offered by highly qualified senior staff trained in using IMP3rove and with experience delivering innovation management services to SMEs.
The EIMC service for SMEs followed a 4-step process where selected innovative SME with willingness to grow 1) received an assessment in Innovation Management capacity using the IMP3rove methodology; 2) based on the assessment needs/gap analysis results, an action plan was presented to the company; 3) the SME implemented the action plan and; 4) the case is closed and feedback was provided to ACCIÓ.
Once finished the service, companies should be in a better position to manage its internal innovation processes in such a way that they were not only aligned with, but fully integrated into the company's overall business development and growth strategy.
ACCIÓ delivered EIMC services to 12 SMEs, 11 of which finished the Innovation Management assessment (IMP3rove). Furthermore, by the end of 2014, 3 SMEs went through the needs and gap analysis, an action plan was agreed and they were ready to implement it.
KAM & EIMC services were offered as a pilot action in 2014 and will be continued in 2015, as an integral part of the Enterprise Europe Network services portfolio. Once coaching services will be provided (KAM) and innovation plans will be implemented (EIMC) it is expected that SMEs that received these services will improve their innovation projects’ results. Therefore, it is expected that thanks to INNCAT, 17 high growth innovative Catalan SMEs will be ready to compete worldwide offering innovative products and services.
KAM Methodology and its phases
EIMC Methodology and its phases