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Innnovation capacity analysis and services for SMEs in Thuringia

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - INNCAS4TH (Innnovation capacity analysis and services for SMEs in Thuringia)

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

The INNCAS4TH project has been implemented by the Foundation for Technology, Innovation and Research (STIFT) in Thuringia in 2015 and 2016.
In the respective period we have provided dedicated services to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), which were aiming at contribute to smart growth in Thuringia (Germany) by
• increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of investments in research, development and innovation and
• contributing to a better and more efficient connection of actors along the innovation chain.
These services were focusing on the increase and acceleration of the economic returns from innovation by facilitating and accompanying dedicated business coaching for successful proposers of the H2020 SME instrument as well as identifying and addressing gaps in the innovation management capacity of Thuringian SMEs with high potential for growth and internationalisation in a systematic and professional way. For all the companies receiving the services during 2015 and 2016, these targets have been met.
SMEs receiving an assessment of their Innovation Management capacity, have valued the structured, dialog-based approach. From our point of view a direct impact of improved capacity in terms of innovation competence can be stated for all people in the company, which were inolved in the assessment directly or indirectly. Furthermore this approach leads to a better acceptance and willingness to actively address the identified gaps and proposed measures and therefore an improvement of competitiveness is expected.

The SME instrument beneficiaries very appreciated our support regarding coach selection as well as the coaches, who have received extensive support as well during registration process and our assistance in case of further questions regarding the coaching scheme. Connection with actors alongside the innovation chain, has become closer, which is last but not least also resulting from our host organisation´s general stakeholder strategy and STIFT´s involvement in regional RIS3 implementation panels. In general the services regarding innovation capacity building have been established in Thuringia well, whereupon rising the number of beneficiaries as well as the number of SME instrument proposers will remain a priority also in the next project period.