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Enhancing the Innovation Management Capacity of SMEs in Bavaria

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - InnoBavaria_2 (Enhancing the Innovation Management Capacity of SMEs in Bavaria)

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

Increasing globalisation and rapid progress of emerging economies, supported by advances in information technology and transport logistics, put an increasing pressure on the economy in Europe. Defending the technology and market lead against new and ambitious competitors, requires constant efforts to successfully innovate products, processes and services. Within Europe’s economy, SMEs play a major role for employment and economic success. Strengthening and maintaining the international competitiveness of SMEs is of vital interest for Europe’s society.

The objective of the action is to help to enhance and accelerate the economic returns from innovation in Europe, by increasing the innovation management capabilities of SMEs. Receiving dedicated services will increase the ability of the SMEs to generate ideas, to focus on ideas with the highest expectations, to translate those ideas into projects, and to bring these projects to an economic success. Otherwise, the services shall increase the ability of SMEs to abandon projects on time and with minimal losses for the company, in case a project doesn’t live up to the original expectations.
The action offered support services to SMEs in Bavaria in two different lines: “Key Account Management” (KAM) and “Enhancing innovation management capacity” (EIMC).

Key Account Management service was offered to SMEs receiving funding from H2020 SME Instrument. The service helped them to detect and analyse any possible barriers in their company that might hinder the realisation of the funded innovation project. In order to address identified issues, one or more external business coaches, accredited and payed by the European Commission, were connected with the SME.

Enhancing Innovation Management Capacity service was offered to SMEs who wanted to increase their ability to manage and implement innovation processes successfully. It covered an individual assessment of the status of innovation management in the company, a benchmarking against other SMEs, and the joint development of an individual action plan for improving it. The service was based on the internationally established tool IMP³rove.

Both KAM and EIMC Services were successfully established in the region of Bavaria.
Expected final results and their potential impact, including the socio-economic impact and wider societal implications of the action so far:

In total, 64 support service were delivered to SMEs in Bavaria, 31 KAM services and 33 EIMC services. 41 cases could be completed successfully in 2015-2016. The remaining cases will be continued in the following period 2017-2018 or had to be closed for external reasons.

The services supported the SMEs to increase their strategic and operational capability to innovate in an international environment, by analysing the individual situation of the SMEs with an independent and critical view from outside, by comparing it against good practices of other SMEs, and by stimulating practical improvements for the company. Increased innovation capabilities will have a positive impact on the companies’ market shares, turnover, costs and jobs.

The KAM and EIMC services were fully integrated in the Enterprise Europe Network’s classical service portfolio, namely the provision of advisory and partnering services. Synergies were utilised wherever possible. This included the combination of different services, e.g. identification of high potential SMEs and projects, signposting to the H2020 SME Instrument or alternative funding opportunities, mentoring during innovation projects, facilitating cooperation with third parties etc.