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KAM and Innovation services for SMEs in Lombardia and Emilia-Romagna

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - KAMINLER (KAM and Innovation services for SMEs in Lombardia and Emilia-Romagna)

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

The main objectives of the project, through the delivery in Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna of specific Enterprise Europe Network services, were:
a) To ensure that SME beneficiaries of the SME Instrument under Horizon 2020 are helped efficiently through dedicated Network Key Account Management (KAM) services complemented by coaching services in order to enhance the probability of a successful exploitation of their innovation projects.
A specific objective of the KAM services is to identify specific innovation weaknesses of the SME beneficiaries and identify suitable coaches that support them to address their weaknesses.
b) To enhance the innovation management capacity of SMEs, with potential for growth and significant innovation activities, by providing in-depth support in the areas where these services are absent or unaffordable on local markets, in order to allow to SMEs to exploit their innovation activities in the Single Market and beyond and create economic impact.
The services have been provided to two target groups of companies:
- Beneficiaries of the SME Instrument
- SMEs with significant innovation activities and a high potential for internationalisation
The services, which have been incorporated into EEN services since 2014, have been carried out by 9 partners of the SIMPLER Consortium, five based in Lombardy (Finlombarda S.p.A. Innovhub SSI, FAST, Confindustria Lombardia, CNA Lombardia) and four based in Emilia-Romagna (ASTER, Confindustria Emilia-Romagna, CNA Emilia Romagna and ENEA).
During the period 2017-2018 the partners carried out the activities foreseen by the two Work Packages:
WP1 - Key Account Management services for the beneficiaries of the SMEs Instrument.
WP2 - Enhancing Innovation Management Capacity for innovating SMEs.
The KAM services were delivered by 7 partners (Finlombarda SpA, Innovhub SSI, FAST, Confindustria Lombardia, CNA Lombardia, ASTER, Confindustria Emilia-Romagna, CNA Emilia Romagna, ENEA) while the EIMC services were delivered by alle the consortium partners.
The cases of beneficiaries of the SME Instrument followed by the KAMs of the project were 181 of which 72% in phase 1 and 28% in phase 2. Some SMEs didn’t accept the coaching after the needs analysis and the proposal of a short list of coaches.
The cases completed in 2017-2018 were 115, about the 64% of the total number of the supported cases.
Not for all the completed cases there were both the phases: the phase 2 cases were 50% of the phase 1 cases.
Synergies with COSME activities have been achieved first of all by promoting and supporting SMEs participation in the SME Instrument call by means of Info Days and EEN individual advisory services. Partners have also provided other EEN services to the beneficiaries of the SME Instrument, especially with regards to support for innovation, international partner search and access to finance. In particular partners organized a B2I event in Milan on 22/11/2018 (Startup e PMI innovative incontrano gli investitori), where 80 SMEs, many of them beneficiaries of the SME Instrument, met 24 investors (Business Angels, Venture Capitalists, Banks and Corporates).
Partner provided the EIMC services to 155 SMEs and 121 cases were completed in the period 2017-2018.
The main objective of the work package was to carry out innovation diagnostic audits of SMEs, in Emilia Romagna and Lombardy regions in order to identify and propose actions for improving their Innovation Management performance.
Many cases are still ongoing because of the long duration foreseen for the implementation of their action plans.
Both for the KAM services and the EIMC services the expected results and impact generally can be measured only after several months from the end of their delivery because they concern long-lasting innovation processes.
Never the less it is possible to identify some qualitative expected benefits for the clients of the project, among which there are:
- Access to public and private funding and to investors;
- Improvement of innovation and IPR management;
- Selection of strategic business and techology partners;
- Improvement of the organization to face innovation challeges;
- Definition of a new business strategy;
- Definition of a new communication plan;
- Improvement of the company information system for monitoring the perfirmance of the company market;
- Improvement of the business plan
As regards the direct impact on the clients of the project services, we can mention some success stories:
- A successful access to finance based on the positive ranking of a company in the EIMC assessment: in 2017 the company closed a financing round of 2.8 Mln EUR;
- A company supported with an EIMC service, included the assessment report and the action plan in a SME Instument Proposal phase 2: the project was awarded with a 1.9 Mln EUR EU grant;
- A company for which the preliminary analysis of the EIMC service had revealed the need to redefine the customer target, value proposition and the brand, was led to a rebranding, in order to position itself on a range of customers not only young, to better deal with the national and international markets and to avoid being mistaken for a manufacturer of patches.
The project has been embedded in the regional business support environments in order to integrate the KAMINLER activities with the policies supporting the competitiveness of the two regions and with the business services provided by the other regional stakeholders. The consortium includes organizations representing the regional governments and organizations representing regional industrial and research systems, including chambers of commerce, industrial and craft associations. Local stakeholders, in particular regional clusters and business associations, have been involved in order to identify innovative SMEs with growth potential in international markets.