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Enhancing innovation management capacities of SMEs in Montenegro

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MontEENegro (Enhancing innovation management capacities of SMEs in Montenegro)

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

Apart from WP 1, where Montenegro did not performed, as we did not have any successful SME Instrument beneficiary to be supported with Key Account Management (KAM), situation is at satisfactory level in WP 2 - Enhancing Innovation Management Capacity (EIMC).
It can be confirmed that we are moving toward proper direction of reaching the set objective of this action - to provide the innovation support services enhancing the innovation capacities of SMEs, and thus contributing to the increasing the overall business performance of SMEs.
In the reporting period, the special effort was dedicated to training of all member staff, and gaining needful knowledge and expertise for assuring better quality of services. Both Introduction to Innovation Management Imp3rove training, and Action Plan Development secure a solid knowledge for performing planned activities, and contributing to defined objectives.
During this reporting period EEN Montenegro has provided in-depth services enhancing the innovation capacity of SMEs. This specific activity has offered mentoring and coaching services to beneficiaries with the objective to increase innovation capacity of SMEs and personalised support to help shape innovation potential into international commercial success. The purpose of this process was to assist SMEs to develop their innovation management capabilities to increase their competitiveness and to grow more effectively.
During this period MontEENegro has assisted 18 SMEs in completion of IMP3rove assessments. EEN staff has been trained properly in this and previous period, assessed the innovation management capacity accurately and effectively, and thus, completed all given tasks. Most of SMEs appreciated EEN assistance during the process. Generated IMP³rove reports clearly indicated where innovation management could generate more profitable and sustainable growth based on the international benchmarks from the IMP³rove database. The IMP³rove benchmarking reports have been a well-structured starting point for developing the most suitable actions to improve the SMEs’ innovation management performance.
After studying the assessment reports, we have identified needs and gaps and proposed action plans where the main challenges/gaps were addressed. Their implementation suggested measures for addressing gaps and bottlenecks in the innovation management as well as ones intended to enhance strengths.
By assessing the current status of the innovation management system in the SMEs and consequently proposing and implementing an action plan to address the main bottlenecks, the SMEs were able to improve their innovation management capacities. With stronger innovation management capacities, the SMEs were able to gain a better market position and to save costs. The SMEs indicated cost savings and identified areas for improving their innovation management performance and competitiveness. Results obtained through EIMC services show a positive impact on services proposed to companies. EIMC services represent a significant key for SMEs to promote themselves: some of our assessed companies took advantage from the report to certify their innovation capacity towards potential clients and investors, or used it to enhance the credibility to obtain a grant for their project.
Other potential direct impacts could be to improve the companies` overall economic results both in income, profit and new job creation; to overcome identified barriers presented in the business plan; to have more efficient set-up of processes and strengthen the competitive position; to enhance SMEs innovation management capacities; to change the companies` structure and make effective decisions increased, etc.
The services implemented in 18 SMEs in this period helped SMEs in Montenegro to get benefits as follows: the SMEs see the big picture; capable to make effective decisions; SMEs improved leading and communicating; SMEs developed collaboration and partnering; increased number of customers; increased annual growth; improved overall competitiveness and productivity; improved the overall working environment; shortening production lead-times; solved specific manufacturing problems that allow SMEs to cut costs.