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Deployment of support services aiming at enhancing the innovation management capacity and projects of SMEs based in the Hauts de France region

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EURACTE-INNOV III (Deployment of support services aiming at enhancing the innovation management capacity and projects of SMEs based in the Hauts de France region)

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

The project EURACTE-INNOV III proposed by the consortium Enterprise Europe Network EURACTE aimed at the establishment, promotion and implementation of two support services aiming at enhancing the innovation management capacity and projects of SMEs based in the Hauts-de-France region, thus generating growth and competitiveness among local actors :

- The first service targets successful applicants under the SME instrument scheme, i.e. “SME Instrument beneficiaries”. The aim of this service is to detect weaknesses in the projects, help the SMEs identify a coach who is competent in the particular field in order to efficiently accompany the SME in finding solutions to the identified challenges, and follow up and facilitate the SME-coach relationship in order to maximize the probability of the project to access the targeted market successfully.

- The second support service, “Enhancing SME innovation management capacity”, aims at helping regional SMEs with potential for international growth, to consolidate their innovation strategy and management, in order to generate more structured innovation projects and increase their chances of success on the European market. The overall objective is to allow those SMEs to reach the required capacities to access to funding under Horizon 2020 R&D programs.
Regarding the KAM service, 6 support packs have been deployed in line with the objective planned in the work program, in addition to a previously initiated pack. The beneficiaries are start-ups, working in the fields of logistics, environment protection and energy efficiency, key topics for the Hauts-de-France region involved in the REV3 transition project linked to the Green Economy.

Regarding the EIMC service, the consortium has supported 26 companies during the work period 2017-2018. These clients, working in a wide variety of sectors (from agriculture products to virtual reality applications), have benefited from that service which allowed them to better structure their innovation process, to better transform their innovation projects into commercial successes and to increase their competitiveness.
The beneficiaries of the KAM services took full advantage of an adapted coaching service enabling these companies to optimize the chances of success of their projects by consolidating them on the regulatory aspects and optimizing their commercial positioning for example. As support for most of the projects began in 2018, we do not have the necessary hindsight to assess precisely today the job creation that will result from them, but these high potential projects are strategic for the development of these companies.

Companies that benefited from the EIMC service were able to identify areas for improvement in their innovation process, to identify areas for progress to innovate more effectively (including low technology activities), to differentiate themselves from their competitors, to become more competitive, to ensure the sustainability of their activity and related jobs.

As foreseen in the implementation strategy, the implementation of the KAM & EIMC services was carried out in close connection with the EEN consortium EURACTE II business advisers, both for the identification of the target clients and for providing complementary support services to the companies benefiting from the EIMC services & KAM (regulatory and legal support, IPR, watch, search for partners, search for funding solutions). The EURACTE II consortium reinforced efforts to provide tailor-made information to high potential regional companies about the SME instrument, in order to increase the number of regional candidates and the chances of success of the local applicants.