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Enhancing innovation management capacity of SMEs in the Netherlands 2017-2018

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - INMANCAP 2017_18 (Enhancing innovation management capacity of SMEs in the Netherlands 2017-2018)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2018-12-31

SMEs are drivers of growth. The challenges that remain however are how to increase SMEs’ innovation potential and how to enable them to bring their innovative ideas to market. Although many SMEs benefit from national and international programmes and support systems many companies
lack the ability and expertise to successfully commercialise their innovation. Therefore the European Commission offers coaching to SMEs with a particularly high EU-wide market and innovation potential and to all SME Instrument beneficiaries in addition to the financial grant received. The
aim is to help companies increase and accelerate economic returns from innovation by raising their innovation management capacities, using proven, high quality methodologies. Coaches will help the beneficiaries to progress over the life cycle of their innovation, from idea to
proof of concept, to first pilot application and finally upscaling and expansion. They will empower the SME to cope with challenges such as developing their strategy and organisation, identifying their market and improving ability to attract finance.
The Enterprise Europe Network has been assigned by the European Commission to supply in-depth innovation support services by working with the management of particularly innovative SMEs in order to address innovation management deficiencies (EIMC) or to help them make the most of their SME Instrument project (KAM) by linking them to the right coach.

The overall objectives of the project were to deliver services designed to enhance the innovation management capacity of SMEs in the Netherlands in the period of 1 January 2017 – 31 December 2018. The services comprised both key account management (KAM) services under the SME Instrument of Horizon 2020 and services to enhance the innovation management capacities (EIMC) of SMEs.

The sub objectives for the first category were: to develop regional SME innovation management capacity by carrying out an innovation management gap analysis and developing and implementing a coaching action plan for a specific project under the H2020 SME Instrument.
The sub objectives for the second category were: to identify promising SMEs capable of growth and successful internationalisation, to carry out a diagnostic audit to identify gaps in the regional SME innovation management capacity and to develop and implement a tailored
action plan to make the innovation system in the company more efficient and effective.
The results of the project are:

For the whole duration of INMANCAP 2017_2018 we planned 120 cases, of which 96 for Phase 1 and 24 for Phase 2. These numbers were an estimation of the number of Dutch beneficiaries we expected in this period. The outcomes of the SME Instrument calls appeared to be: 60 cases for Phase 1 (63%) and 24 for Phase 2 (100%). Additionally 1 case for FET Open and 1 case for FTI were added. This means that overall we have realised 72% of our target.
For all of these cases a needs analysis has been performed. From these 86 cases 81 cases have already led to a coaching contract; 4 contracts are being prepared at the time of the reporting and 1 coach will be assigned soon.

We targeted to do 140 cases in the period 2017-2018. We realised to start 134 new cases in the total project period (96%). We managed to do in this project period a total of 137 cases (98%). In 2017 63 new cases were started followed by 71 new cases in 2018. During 2017 five of the new-started cases and in 2018 two new-started cases were stopped due to loss of commitment by the entrepreneur or due to changes in management priorities of the companies involved.
In all 137 cases (100%) the Needs & Gaps analysis was made and the results of the Innovation Health Check were discussed with the entrepreneur and/or the management team. In 126 cases (92%) a Plan of Action was made that is or is going to be implemented by the entrepreneur and/or the management team.
We are proud of the 120 cases that have been brought to completion in the project period which is 88% of our target. 10 cases will be completed in 2019.
The consortium has established a solid working procedure which enables them to perform efficiently. Although results are slightly below the Midterm expectations most clients were very satisfied with the KAM and EIMC services they received. In several cases this has even led to considerable impact for the company in terms of turnover and employees. It is expected that the consortium will catch up in the next period.