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Enhancing the innovation management capacity of SMEs in Bavaria

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - InnoBavaria_3 (Enhancing the innovation management capacity of SMEs in Bavaria)

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

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 their technology and market lead against new and ambitious competitors, requires constant efforts of European enterprises in innovating their products, processes and services. Within Europe’s economy, SMEs play a major role for employment and economic success. Strengthening and maintaining the SMEs’ international competitiveness and innovation capacity therefore is of vital interest for Europe’s society.

Overall objective of this support action project is to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of investments (both private or public) in research, development and innovation. Specifically, SMEs in the region of Bavaria shall be enabled to perform innovation activities effective and efficient. Their ability to generate ideas, to select and translate the most promising ideas into projects, and to bring these projects to a long-term or sustainable economic success shall be increased, as well as their ability to identify potential risks and to take suitable counter measures. This is achieved by the delivery of well-defined services packages to the SMEs, targeting specifically the enhancement of their innovation management capacity and the removal of potential innovation gaps and bottlenecks.
The project offered support service packages to SMEs in Bavaria in two different lines: “Key Account Management” (KAM) and “Enhancing innovation management capacity” (EIMC). Both lines of support are offered by qualified senior innovation experts and by applying proven specialised tools and methods.

Key Account Management service was offered to SMEs receiving funding from H2020 SME Instrument. The KAM service helped them to detect and analyse any possible barriers in their company that might hinder the sustainable commercialisation of the result 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 deployed to support 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 tools IMP³rove and Innovation Health Check.

Both KAM and EIMC Services were successfully delivered to SMEs in the region of Bavaria.
In total, nearly 80 support service were delivered to SMEs in Bavaria, 38 KAM services and 39 EIMC services. 50 support services could be completed successfully in 2017-2018, the remaining 27 cases will be continued in 2019.

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.

Direct impact of KAM services for SME clients comprises e.g. the analysis of the role of the funded project for the general development of the company, its expansion strategy and mid-term objectives, the available resources for this scope, the strategic and commercial partnerships in place, the IPR assets, the business plan and the configuration of the core team.

Direct impact of EIMC services for SME clients comprises e.g. the improvement of their vision and innovation strategy, of their focus on new markets, products or services, of their idea generation and idea management, of their knowledge management, of their interaction with external partners or of their innovation project processes. From these direct improvements of their innovation management, the SME clients finally expect a better position on the markets and an increase of profitability and growth.

Synergies were utilised intensively with EU COSME activities. The KAM and EIMC services were fully integrated in the Enterprise Europe Network’s service portfolio, namely the provision of advisory and partnering services. 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.
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