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

The ultramarine European territories of Martinique and Guadeloupe Islands face common challenges to increase their attractiveness and competitiveness, such as remoteness, insularity, or the strong impact of climate change on the islands due to tropical climate. However, innovation could transform these challenges into opportunities. Indeed, the central position of Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Caribbean islands could help develop business and tourism. The climate of these islands is also the source of their unique biodiversity which could support innovations in environment protection or agro, bio, pharma and cosmetic industries. Thus, the objective is to detect local SMEs with high innovation potential and to support their development to help them transform the common challenges of these islands into opportunities. The CCI Martinique, Technopôle Martinique and CCI Iles de Guadeloupe (Pôle Europe Entreprise Innovation Antilles - PEEI consortium) have developed activities together in the framework of the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN). The consortium provides two main types of services: support services for innovative SMEs to help them obtain European fundings (Enhancing Innovation Management Capacities – EIMC) (i), and key account management (KAM) for beneficiaries of the SME Instrument under Horizon 2020 (ii).
In the framework of the EIMC work package, several events were organized and the awareness of more than 500 businesses was raised over the two years 2017 and 2018. Moreover, the most promising SMEs were selected to benefit from a specific coaching in the framework of the EIMC. The selection process was based on several criteria, such as their ability to innovate, their objectives, their strategy. A total of 11 SMEs in 2017 and 9 SMEs in 2018 have finally benefited from the EIMC services. These SMEs covered a large variety of sectors, such as agri-food processing, health, web, energy, construction and housing, environment, cosmetics etc.
So far, no local company was selected to the phase 1 or 2 of the SME Instrument program. However, in the framework of this KAM work package, the consortium organised an event in 2017 entitled “Discover the SME Instrument” to inform the participants about the calls for proposals and programs in the framework of H2020. This action was essential because there was a lack of knowledge of EU programs amongst local businesses. Three companies in 2017, and two additional ones in 2018 have showed strong interest for the SME Instrument program. Moreover, in 2018, the KAM of the PEEI consortium exchanged good practices with the KAM of other EEN consortium.
The consortium was successful with the rise of awareness of SMEs concerning EU funding programs. Moreover, the consortium has selected a consulting firm to assist potential applicants on EU funding programs. Thus, the chances for innovative local SMEs to meet the expectations of phase 1 or 2 of the SME Instrument program are higher. The diffusion of the knowledge of EU programs contributes to increase the competitiveness of these territories. The expected impact is to turn the experience of one or two companies into success stories and to use these stories as a catalyst for other local companies tempted by European schemes.