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Establishing services enhancing the innovation management capacity of SME's in the Enterprise Europe Network

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EEN OUEST H2020 (Establishing services enhancing the innovation management capacity of SME's in the Enterprise Europe Network)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-12-31

The SGA 2015-2016 of Enterprise Europe Ouest project relies on a 6 year-strategy 2015-2020, based on a simple fact: SMEs are the backbone of the European economy as they support 2/3 of the employment. Their competitiveness is increasingly dependent on their capacity to innovate (develop new products or services, adapt to new processes or business models…) and to reach new markets, in Europe and beyond.

In order to exploit all these development opportunities, businesses need to find the relevant and efficient support services that Enterprise Europe Network can deliver.

In Western France, the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Bretagne and Pays de la Loire, in partnership with the regional agency, Bretagne Développement Innovation, have decided to propose a comprehensive scope of services meeting SMEs’ needs. The latter are split in 7 workpackages :
- 4 WPs are “service” activities : information and advice actions / matchmaking activities in order to develop commercial and technological partnerships / feedback activities for the European Commission /H2020 innovation services (enhancing innovation capacity and key account management for the beneficiary of the SME instrument)
- The other 3 WPs are “support” activities : promotion of the network in order to gain visibility / Networking activities / and management of the project.

WP4 is now a central part of the EEN Ouest implementation strategy, linked to WP1 advisory services, but also to WP5 on the promotion side. EEN has to demonstrate its ability to address innovation strategies and internationalization strategies. Until now innovation services were limited to partnering and IPR : now EEN staff can value expertise in innovation management thanks to the H2020 initiative.

Although it is rather difficult to measure real impact of the KAM/EIMC initiatives in so far as 2/3 of the cases are still opened, the qualitative results are satisfactory.

Concerning KAM, the EEN intermediary has been proved very useful to choose coaches and make sure that the coaching was launched. On 5 cases, only 1 is completed.

For EIMC, the impact is more indirect. Most beneficiaries clearly expressed a good satisfaction as far as the diagnosis and the action plans were concerned. However, some of them find it very difficult to devote time to the proposed actions. This is due to the fact that the EIMC initiative questions “processes”, organizations, strategies … in the mid and long term. Contrary to usual advisory services that are linked to specific projects.
As described in the core report and in the budget, ambitious objectives have not been fulfilled by the partners.

Financial and Human Resources :

In order to carry out WP4, the consortium initially planned to devote 644 days to the project, finally 200 days have been declared during the period. Consequently, the global budget is 40% of the forecast with 100% of expenses on staff. The expected subsidy amounts at 103600M€.

Results :

As far as quantitative results are concerned,
- 5 KAM service packages for 4 SMEs have been carried out,
- 57 EIMC service packages have been launched, 65% are still opened.

Local cooperation and visibility

A particular effort has been made on our relationships with local stakeholders such as clusters. This is linked to our visibility strategy: strong cooperation bring an interesting leverage to our actions. Communication and promotion tools have been edited and a serious game on innovation management is under construction.
Part 2 of the 2015-2020 Implementation Strategy details the clients ‘needs. The potential client scope was evaluated to 7 000 companies ; our CRM tool gathers 2700 companies and the PES records 1500 clients of individual services and almost 3600 clients of awareness actions. Our “classic EEN” rate of client is then rather high.

For KAM the number of possible beneficiaries is too low. In France during the 2015-2016 period only 137 SMEs took part to the programme on almost 2500 projects at European level ( 5.5%). And Western France represents only 3.5% of French projects.
However BDI took the initiative to promote very actively SMEI through targeted interactive workshops (see COSME WP1).

For EIMC, the scope of clients is much higher. Even though the objective is to contact ambitious SMEs, all sectors can be targeted.
Whereas KAM services were limited to identifying coaches and making sure that the service was well delivered, EIMC services allowed to tackle a broad scope of issues interesting accompanied companies: the two main subjects concerned competitive intelligence and project management capacity. Beneficiaries also express needs in the fields of open innovation, business strategy and creativity.

2/3 of cases are still opened due to the fact that clients find it difficult to devote sufficient time to carry out the proposed actions.