Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SMEntorEGE (SMEntorEGE)
Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2018-12-31
The SMEntor project has started to lever its list of deliverables in the proposed project as of January 2017. Despite the fact that the project has two Work Packages a) Key account management for SME Instrument beneficiaries and b) Enhancing SMEs’ innovation management capacity, there has not been any KAM-COACH services were provided under WP 1 due to no SME Instrument beneficiaries in the covered region during the first period of project time. However, under the EEN project, EBIC-Ege Consortium staff have been providing targeted services to the local companies both to inform them about SME Instrument as well as assisting them to prepare competitive proposal. The staff of both projects had regular meetings twice a month and informal meetings occasionally as well as internal trainings. Company visits have been realized jointly for providing information on both EBIC-Ege and SMentorEGE project. This was helpful for both SMEs and project staff means of time management. For the company meetings in the premises of the project partners, companies are signed posted in both ways if needed. Nevertheless, KAMs are ready to implement the work package and the Ege Project Assessment Tool (EgePAT) is ready to use. This tool kept testing to improve and make it ready to implement in WP1. WP2 activities are much more successful than WP1 and no issues encountered in 2017. To improve the project performance and effectiveness of the services, feedbacks were requested from the clients after each event and some monitoring visits were realized. These feedbacks were collected via phone calls, emails and sometimes face-to-face meetings. During 2017 three different main issued encountered which had potential to effect the results of the project. One of them was on a consortium level, the other number of SME Instrument beneficieries and the other is the country level. Begining of 2017, the university administration took Prof. Dr. Fazilet Vardar Sukan from director position of EBILTEM which is the coordinating insitute. Altough this was one of the most important issues which might radiccaly effect the project, the team members spent extraordinarory effect to minimize the negative impact. They kept working according to project plan and just focused the outcome. So, this issue did not effect the outcome of the project at all. Secondly the number of SME Instrument beneficiaries in covered region is also was issue. In the proposal 10 SME Instrument beneficiaries were targeted to receive KAM services, however, no companies received this since there is no wining proposal yet in the region in 2017. Last but not least, the tension between Turkey and EU has negatively effected companies’ willigness (such as exluding EU Calls) to apply EU funded projects including SME Instrument. But, we always encouraged companies to apply EU calls including SMEI and assured them that the collaboration between EU and Turkey will never end.
Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far
In order to realize the full target of the project, we have focused on the proposed services in the region. However, despite all our collaborative effort with EEN, successfully 1 applications were submitted but there is no wining SME Instrument project from our region yet. Therefore, starting from early 2017 we have organized different info days and seminars in order to increase awareness and created a database with potential SMEs (108 participants). Since we could not achieve the project proposed targets under WP1, we mostly focused WP2 activities and therefore we have achieved the deliverable under Enhancing Innovation Management Capacity for Innovating SMEs.Using the location advantage that the EBIC-Ege staff and project staff using the same building close collaboration has been established under WP2. The staff of both projects had regular meetings twice a month and informal meetings occasionally as well as internal trainings. Company visits have been realized jointly for providing information on both EBIC-Ege and SMentorEGE project. This was helpful for both SMEs and project staff means of time management. For the company meetings in the premises of the project partners, companies are signed posted in both ways if needed. SMentorEGE project targeted to deliver WP2 services to 120 companies for two years. The total number of companies received innovation management enhancement services is 45. All 45 companies registered to Innovation Assessment Tool with their username and password. Via this tool, companies were followed carefully in each step whether they have filled out the tool properly, on time and with all necessary information. Furthermore, a meeting organized with each company either at host organization or at companies’ premises to inform them about their current innovation management level and proposed an action plan in order to improve their innovation management capacity. In addition, implementation of action plan closely followed-up by the project staff. The reason of around 40% of realization of two year target is the managment issue happened in the first quarter of 2017.
Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)
The project has two-fold impact. First impact is to increase the innovation level of companies by measuring their innovation level and providing services to enhance their management capacity. We are experiencing that the services under the project is helping companies to see their bottleneck and barriers in their innovation system. With the tool used in the project, SMEs are also able to compare their results with their competitors in the same sector, companies in the same region and with all companies who participated to this program. Furthermore, based on the innovation score chart, each company receive recommendation from experts to enhance their innovation management capacity, get rid of barriers and new advices for improvements. Furthermore, in the long run, services which have been provided will also help companies to access SMEI funds for their R&D and innovation projects. In brief, the project has a positive impact on improving the innovation management capacity of SMEs. Second impact is on employment in the region. After the services under WP2, companies understood how important to manage innovation in the company. This first step help them to see their gaps and needs and let them willing to set up their R&D and Innovation department with experience staff. Therefore, this service helped companies to make them understood how important innovation for their competition and creating jobs for educated people in the region. Furthermore, the companies who receive financial support from SME Instrument program is bringing disruptive innovation in to the market. Also a way that accelerates companies’ economic growth, export performance as well as growth in employment.