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EEN Northern Netherlands: enhancing the innovation capacity of SMEs

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EEN Northern NL (EEN Northern Netherlands: enhancing the innovation capacity of SMEs)

Reporting period: 2017-03-01 to 2018-12-31

This is the summary of the EEN Northern Netherlands consortium activities related to the project 770766 - H2020.

These activities are divided in two work packages.

In WP1 - Key account management for the beneficiaries of the SMEs Instrument, only awareness raising activities have been done. The reason for this is that not a single company in the region has been awarded an SME Instrument. After discussions with national and international colleagues, we feel that part of the reason for that is that opposed to the practice in some other countries, in the Netherlands there are quite a few possibilities for funding innovations in other ways. Entrepreneurs rather choose to spend their scarce time on those opportunities, than on the SME Instrument, which has the reputation of having very low success rates.

The second work package (WP2) is Enhancing Innovation Management Capacity for Innovating SME’s (EIMC). During this reporting period one of the team members of CUBE050 was trained. This meant that that for this work package two of the partners in the consortium were actively involved. For this work package a total number of 21 organizations have been serviced. Although BDF have found most of their clients as a result of their network, CUBE050 is still developing its network for finding the right clients for the IHC.
We have built upon our strong interregional network to find candidates for the EIMC service. Since there were no SME Instrument beneficiaries in this period for the Northern Netherlands region, we have spend the majority of time at the EIMC serivce. We have used the IHC method which has a pragmatic touch and is well appreciated by clients. We have stuck to our IS and worked according plan.
As no SME Instrument was awarded in the region of the Northern Netherlands some time was spend on awareness raising activities for the SME Instrument. Most time was spend however on the WP2 - EIMC. This has resulted in IHC projects for 21 organizations. An additional team member was trained in 2018 to perform the IHC with clients.
The EIMC services were experienced as very hands-on and useful. 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 (because the management can work more efficiently and effectively). At the same time, these stronger innovation management capacities will close the gap with regards to innovation capacity and internationalization compared to the national average.
As mentioned earlier, 6 companies went through the Innovation Health Check. The companies have not indicated an increase in jobs, but did mention changing job tasks. They did indicate cost savings, but did not indicate exactly numbers (1 company mentioned cost savings of 40.000€). In the other cases it is hard to measure exact numbers on generated impact by the supporting activities of EEN NN.