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E3Canarias 2017-2018: Enhancing the innovation management capacity of SME's with the Enterprise Europe Network Canarias 2017-2018

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - E3Canarias 2017-2018 (E3Canarias 2017-2018: Enhancing the innovation management capacity of SME's with the Enterprise Europe Network Canarias 2017-2018)

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

The E3Canarias 2017-2018 project aimed at Enhancing the Innovation Management Capacity (EIMC) of the Canary Islands’ SMEs, giving support to the most innovative small and medium size companies in the islands, as well as to the Canarian beneficiaries of the HORIZON 2020 dedicated SME instrument as Key Account Manager (KAM).
The SMEs beneficiaries of the Horizon 2020 SME instrument receive support during Phase 1 to identify gaps, suitable coaches and facilitate initial coach-SME interaction to prepare coaching plan. Furthermore SMEs beneficiaries of Phase 2 receive support for covering the interaction between the lead coach, the SME and the central management body of the SME Instrument. During 2017-2018, the Canary Islands region had 5 SME beneficiaries of the SME instrument Phase 1 and continued with the beneficiary companies of SME instrument Phase 2 that started in 2016.

The SMEs selected for enhancing the innovation management capacity service (EIMC) received an innovation management capacity assessment, including a gap analysis and the provision of targeted services to address recognized gaps. The assessments were based on the IMP³rove methodology. During 2017-2018, a total of 23 SMEs received EIMC assessments.
The service was delivered by the Technological Institute of the Canary Islands (ITC), as the EEN-Canarias expert dealing with innovation and R&D management in the Canary Islands, taking advantage of the expertise acquired by the ITC as the regional actor with competences in innovation development since 1995, as well as the closeness to the innovative SMEs in the region.
During 2017-2018 in the Canary Islands, with the SME instrument of the Horizon 2020 was worked on: 5 cases in Phase 1 and in Phase 2 continued to work on cases that began in 2016. The beneficiaries were receiving KAM support and advices in Phase 3 activity, to participate in Business Acceleration Services and COSME services and activities.

Several SMEs from the Canaries have prepared SME instrument project proposal, having regular contact with the ITC, which organises SME instrument events in the islands in close cooperation with the NCP.

(The aim of EIMC services was to enhance innovation management capacity of those SMEs from the Canary Islands with real potential for growth, via product/service innovation, with the help of an Innovation Expert, to allow a diagnostic of the SME and the construction of a tailor-made development plan to enhance that SME’s capacity to better manage innovation).
The aim of the EIMC services was to improve the innovation management capacity of Canary Islands SMEs with real growth potential, through product/service innovation. This was done with the help of an innovation expert who made it possible to carry out a diagnosis of the SME and to draw up a tailor-made development plan to increase the innovation management capacity of the SME.

During 2017-2018, a total of 23 SMEs among the most innovative companies from the Canary Islands, received EIMC assessment, taking part in a benchmarking exercise, identifying their strengths, gaps between innovation capabilities and their innovation goals and needs. A comparison was made with the results of its competitors - the benchmarking sample was customized according to company size, age class, country and NACE industrial classification.
An action plan was prepared for 14 companies, carrying out different actions arising from the opportunities detected, dependent on the type of SME, its sectors, size, internal structures, innovation ambitions and capacity.
The action plans consisted of a combination of activities to achieve the objectives of the companies, handholding the SME to implement some of the actions, links to regional support programmes, signposting to other Enterprise Europe Network services and other actions to be carried out directly by the SME itself. Action plans includes activities such as:
• Participating in the SME Instrument.
• Open innovation. Taking part in DEMOLA Canary Islands Initiative.
• International contacts and exchange of experiences with other entrepreneurs. Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs.
• International partner search and technological offers and demands. Enterprise Europe Network Canary Islands.
• Participation in regional, national and international R&D or Innovation Programmes.
• Getting in contact with regional innovative clusters.
• Applying for National Seal for Innovative SMEs.
• Applying for fiscal incentives for R&D activities.
• Receiving specific training in innovation management.
• Receiving support on how to hire staff for innovation activities.

The results of the action plan for the 14 companies: 9 are on-going, 3 were implemented and 2 couldn´t be implemented due to the lack of resources from the assessed SMEs to get involved in the proposed actions.
The beneficiary of the SME instrument initiative for ph1 and ph2 consider that the participation in this programme: 1) It helped SMEs to enter new markets, increasing their market share and consolidating their position in existing markets. 2) Achieved improved customer satisfaction. 3) Increased their innovation strategy and management.

The SME beneficiaries of the EIMC services SME instrument consider that this service impacts the company: 1) Obtaining Regional /National funding. 2) Applying to European Funding. 3) Participating in other innovation activities supported by the ITC such as the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneur and open innovation initiative Demola Canary Islands. 4) Strengthening contact with regional Clusters. 5) Receiving Enterprise Europe Network advisory services in partnering opportunities and participation in international events.

Most of the companies realized that they need external support for the development of their most ambitious ideas. Some of these companies are interested in hiring staff so they applied to regional or national programs. Other companies are in contact with the local universities looking for the most suitable ways of cooperation, including their participation in Open Innovation Schemes and technology transfer programs.

With regard to the dissemination and exploitation of the results, the following actions have been implemented:
• SME instrument weakness detected: In cooperation with Enterprise Europe Network Canarias and NCP, the ITC organised four seminars related with SME instrument initiative, with the aim to disseminate and assess individually the proposals of the SMEs interested in this funding programme.
E3 Canarias presentation