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This 3 day conference will be focused to the financial instruments, facilities and measures launched under Horizon 2020 to enhance access to finance for research, innovation and SMEs.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - First InnovativeWeek (This 3 day conference will be focused to the financial instruments, facilities and measures launched under Horizon 2020 to enhance access to finance for research, innovation and SMEs.)

Reporting period: 2015-02-02 to 2015-12-01


Conference “First Innovative Enterprise Week - Access to Finance for Research, Innovation and SMEs 2015” (First Innovative Week), the second of annually held by RTD conferences, was held in Riga, Latvia this year. The very successful growth of this major conference was sustained. Approximately 450 delegates from 29 countries ensured that First Innovative Week was the biggest, best-organised and best-supported such conference to date.

Sessions, workshops, meetings, presentations and official receptions over three days demonstrated convincingly the importance of access to finance topics in ensuring that Europe retains a foothold at the very forefront of global research and innovation. Indeed, the importance of access to finance for research and innovation as a key enabling technology, was fundamental topic which repeatedly emerged during the course of the three days. The importance of international cooperation, including extending the boundaries of such cooperation well beyond the EU borders, was repeatedly emphasised and highlighted by all key players and was reflected in the committed participation of so many delegates from beyond those borders. The enthusiastic participation of so many delegates in the sessions demonstrated a very real willingness on the part of those delegates to establish new collaborations.

The event programme featured updates on the latest developments in R&I from many leading research centres and provided practical information on use of financial instruments for innovations from European innovation and research technology leaders. Inevitably, due to its timing at the end of the Latvian EU presidency, the relevance and importance of Horizon 2020 (Europe’s new Framework Programme for Research and Innovation) was repeatedly addressed. Hopes were expressed that the projected growth of Horizon 2020 and the strategic positioning of proposed SME Finance Initiative within Horizon 2020, would remain as a characteristic key element of Horizon 2020.

Throughout the conference, the need to focus on understanding how to gain access, via financial instruments, to loans, guarantees, counter-guarantees and hybrid, mezzanine and equity finance for companies and other types of organisation engaged in research and innovation (R&I) has been emphasised. Another important priority for conference was to build activities that supporting R&I in upcoming years: the Risk-Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF) and the Risk-Sharing Instrument for SMEs (RSI) in the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), together with GIF-1, the early-stage part of the High-Growth & Innovative SMEs Facility in the Competitiveness & Innovation Framework Programme (CIP)2. Horizon 2020's financial instrument facilities will operate in conjunction with those of COSME3, the successor to CIP.
No doubt, First Innovative Week conference has catalysed participation by Horizon 2020 in the proposed SME Finance Initiative, also the launch of a pilot facility supporting the technology transfer process and a new focus on improving access to risk finance by larger midcap firms was sustained. The speakers at the conference provided their view into how best to encourage more business angel, crowd-funding and philanthropic investments in R&I; the potential for pan-European venture capital (VC) funds-of-funds; and at the possibilities for an EU prizes scheme.

In addition, conference encouraged companies and research institutions of all sizes, together with other types of organisation, to get advice on how to make themselves more attractive to banks and potential investors.

During the First Innovative Enterprise Week in Riga, the European Commission (EC) and the EIB Group have launched three new financial products to boost the competitiveness of innovative companies in Europe under the ""InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators"" programme. The EC and the EIB have also expanded the “InnovFin Advisory” mandate, which will allow innovative"
1. Work with lecturers and guests of honour of the conference

Within the conference Innoweek 2015, the organisers provided for comprehensive and reliable communication with the lecturers prior to the conference, during, as well as afterwards. Initially, the lecturers were sent electronic and printed invitations to participate. Upon receipt of a positive reply, a list of lecturers was developed and it was continuously updated and supplemented based on the current situation.

The organiser – “Financial Development Institution Altum” (ALTUM previous AFI) provided for the lecturers’ coordinator who provided assistance in all issues and replies to all questions required for the lecturer. The lecturers’ coordinator ensured successful coordination between the lecturer and the travel agency to purchase the most suitable flight tickets to allow the lecturer to arrive to the conference without any complications, booked the hotels, provided for transportation and security.

ALTUM also provided for the welcome stand in the airport that was created in compliance with the developed First Innovation Week design. The welcome stand operated for 3 days by adhering to the arrival times of the lecturers. In the stand, each lecturer could receive the information about the conference, its location and possible means of transport. The staff working in the stand assisted the lecturers with taxi reservations and how to get to them. Prior to the conference, the lecturers’ coordinator also coordinated and summarised the subjects presented by the lecturers at the conference, their names, presentation files, prepared the materials for processing, translated those and published then on the conference publicity channels: website, Facebook page, Twitter page, as well as printed materials.

2. Work with the EU commissioners and government officials

ALTUM, in cooperation with the Ministry of Economics of the Republic of Latvia and the European Commission representative office, provided for the VIP delegation organisation services.

A VIP list was developed, monitored, and updated. The following services were provided for and organised: VIP protocol, transport, escorting, and security services.

The following work tasks were implemented: particularising, processing of VIP subjects and presentations, their preparation for placement in the media. ALTUM also provided for processing and translation of VIP speeches, subjects, subject names, presentations and other prepared materials and their publication on the conference publicity channels: website, Facebook page, Twitter page, as well as printed materials.

In addition, the VIP guest transportation to/from the locations of dinners and other informal events, as well as meeting and seeing-off the VIP guests in Riga Airport and using services of the Airport VIP Service Centre, were organised.

3. Work with the conference participants

ALTUM, in cooperation with the responsible European Commission staff, developed the database of participants by partially using the details provided by the organiser, invited the participants, provided for the sales activities and publicity, as well as organised and provided for the meeting and registration of participants at the conference site.

Inviting the participants was provided for by using specially developed software that allowed for inviting several thousand participants and sending e-mails to them containing information about the conference.
ALTUM also developed, processed, and coordinated the participant database (in MS Excel format) containing at least 1,500 contacts. Detailed information was provided about each participant in the database: company name, address, e-mail address, contact person and title.
The list of invited conference participants was prepared accordingly.

Over the course of three days, the conference was attended by 473 participants, including participants from the Baltic States and participants from foreign target markets (Belgi
"The First Innovative Enterprise week “Access to Finance for Research, Innovation and SMEs 2015” conference was held on 15-17 June in Riga as part of the First Innovative Enterprise Week initiated by the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the EU. The conference was organised by the Latvian Ministry of Economics in collaboration with the Altum development finance institution, the European Commission, the European Investment Bank, the European Investment Fund and the Secretariat of the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the EU.

The First Innovative Enterprise week conference “Access to Finance for Research, Innovation and SMEs 2015” which was held in Riga, brought together more than 450 financial policy-makers, financial intermediaries, innovation experts and entrepreneurs, who over three days of the conference discussed access to finance for research and innovative businesses. The European Investment Bank (EIB) Group and the European Commission (EC) announced at the conference three new support instruments under the ""InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators"" support programme that are worth a total of more than 600 million euros, also confirming further development of increasingly more effective ways to attract investment in the European economy and stimulate small and medium-sized enterprises.

Two new InnovFin financial instruments for support of the health and energy sectors, which have a growing role in the economy, were launched during the conference. Also, a venture capital instrument for small and medium-sized enterprises will be launched, opening up new financing opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises. The range of consulting services was also expanded to help innovative entrepreneurs become more attractive in the eyes of private investors, improving development opportunities for new enterprises across Europe and thereby facilitating economic growth in Europe.

This was the first European conference on innovative business and another is planned to take place under the Netherlands’ Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2016. Delegates acknowledged that the initiative of the Latvian Presidency and the European Commission to bring together high-level policy-makers, representatives of scientific institutions, entrepreneurs and private investors was a successful start of the further work on securing economic growth in Europe.

At the opening the conference, the Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma stressed that “Europe’s success in the economic field is largely dependent on whether small and medium-sized enterprises are able to utilise their potential for growth. The development of these enterprises is affected by their access to financial resources, which has been significantly hampered by the cautious lending policy of banks, and, to improve the situation several important initiatives have been launched at EU level that will improve the investment environment and improve small and medium enterprises’ access to financial resources”.

The First Innovative Week devoted much attention to the Investment Plan for Europe, the implementation of which will begin already in the coming months. The plan will stimulate investment in growth and jobs, diversify available resources of financing and facilitate cross-border capital flows.

The conference was attended by the European Commission’s Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Mr Carlos Moedas who introduced the EU financial instruments in support of innovation. Mr Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President of the European Commission, responsible for the Euro and Social Dialogue, gave an insight into the current situation in the Eurozone, while work on the Investment Plan for Europe was explained by Vice-President of EIB Mr Pim van Ballekom. Vice-President of EIB Mr Ambroise Fayolle and CEO of the European Investment Fund (EIF) Pier Luigi Gilibert were also among the participants of the conference.

A total of 16 plenary and 7 parallel"