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Improvement of Innovation Management Capacity of SMEs from Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBH) through the Enterprise Europe Network

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BITNET-INNOSUP (Improvement of Innovation Management Capacity of SMEs from Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBH) through the Enterprise Europe Network)

Période du rapport: 2017-03-01 au 2018-12-31

As it is stated strategic aim of the Horizon 2020 related activities is to reinforce scientific research and innovative capacity of companies and research institutions in EU (and participating countries as Bosnia and Herzegovina). Activities were focusing to in-depth services with the objective of improvement of the innovation management capacity of the local SMEs (mainly, but not necessarily focused on Sarajevo, Mostar and Tuzla region). This instrument will help to target SMEs within a clear innovation (management) support, including application of methodologies for innovation management as defined by IMP3rove. IMP3rove methodology was introduced to members of consortium as available tool, to address specific challenges and the topic as set out in the work programme and the call. Promising SMEs with innovation potential and/or innovation activities were target group. There are three guiding lines that are innovation of products, processes and/or organizational structure aiming at raising the companies’ income and competitiveness.

This document reports the period March 2017 to December 2018, on EIMC and KAM activities of the BITNET-INNOSUP consortium activities. As we had a late start and began only in September 2017 with the training activities, the first progress report at the end of 2017 showed underachievement. However, in the 2018 the consortium managed to perform 100% of its tasks and with excellent quality and great feedback from the clients.

Key Account Management services for the beneficiaries of the SMEs Instrument, due to the unfortunate fact that no companies from BH were successful with the SME Instrument Phase 1, there are no companies in BH whatsoever, to be consulted with KAM services. In that regard, UNSA has organized the round table with NCP for SME Instrument, trying to understand the major issues and reason why there is no successful application for the SME instrument. Hence, as the KAM target could not be delivered due to the justified reasoning, INTERA partner has delivered an extra EIMC service, instead of 6, they have assisted 7 innovating companies.

Enhancing Innovation Management Capacity for innovating SMEs - Due to the late start with the provision of services, all three partners had to significantly speed up the process in 2018. In 2017. consortium had 42% achieved goal. However, since all consortium members had a good training, understood the process and were eager to complete it, the achievement rate at the end of 2018. is 100%. Each partner completed the task of 6 assessments with total of the 18 EIMC assessments, plus an extra one conducted by INTERA instead of the KAM service.

Among assessed clients, dominating was ICT sector as expected; however, significant portion of manufacturing companies was included as well. Wholesale and retail trade, advertising and market research, along with creative arts and entertainment were some of the companies whose innovation was assessed. Civil engineering and architectural and engineering activities were also present in those 19 companies.
Since those companies come in a variety of industries and sizes, their innovations differ greatly. Most of those in manufacturing and or engineering sector are incremental ones, while in ICT industry there are radical ones as well. Companies assessed all have great enabling factors and idea generation management, however they are usually lacking the innovation strategy or the clear positioning of the innovation within the business strategy.

Assessed companies can be divided into two categories, (a) Young and small start-ups mainly in ICT industry and (b) bigger, older companies in manufacturing/retail and/or engineering. The first group has great innovation culture, idea generation management and now structure to deliver tangible results. The other group has a good strategy, but they are slow and resistant to change the culture. They do not generate ideas and their strategy is zero-mistake, they don’t have resources set aside to “try out new things”.

As the second year of the project progressed, we have to highlight excellent dissemination actions by all members of consortium. Dissemination to scientific community, to industry and to society was conducted, different promotional events organized and this all resulted in greater visibility of EEN activities, COSME and EICM assessments.
Work performed within this action was divided in two Work Packages:

WP1 Key Account Management services for the beneficiaries of the SMEs Instrument – INTERA partner is in charge of the KAM activities. Nevertheless, due to the unfortunate fact that no companies from BH were successful with the SME Instrument Phase 1, there are no companies in BH whatsoever, to be consulted with KAM services. In that regard, UNSA has organized the round table with NCP for SME Instrument, trying to understand the major issues and reason why there are no successful applications for the SME instrument. Moreover, the consortium members were active in e-mail communication that happened in the previous few months, understanding that SME instrument Phase 1 will not be offered any longer, and different tool will be introduced soon to the program. Hence, as the KAM target could not be delivered due to the justified reasoning, INTERA partner has delivered an extra EIMC service, instead of 6, they have assisted 7 innovating companies.

WP2 Enhancing Innovation Management Capacity for innovating SMEs - Due to the late start with the provision of services, all three partners had to significantly speed up the process in 2018. As two partners (BIT and INTERA) delivered one service in 2017, and third partner (UNSA) had two clients in 2017, that all resulted with the underachievement, or the 42% achieved goal. However, since all consortium members had a good training, understood the process and were eager to complete it, the achievement rate at the end of 2018. is 100%. Each partner completed the task of 6 assessments with total of the 18 EIMC assessments, plus an extra one conducted by INTERA instead of the KAM service. Each assessment lasted for 7 days, as outlined in the project proposal. Out of that, we had between two and four meetings with clients, first one to present the overall project and the benefits of the assessment, second to perform the assessment, third to present the report and to have a feedback, fourth one to present the final action plan.
The progress of the action is in line with the plans. The consortium has set up a solid ground in order to ensure good conditions to maximize the impact in the second part of the project. Project activities had multiple impacts on innovative SMEs in the country. In addition, given the good feedback we are receiving from client companies we expect to achieve a very relevant impact before the end of the project. Primarily, SME clients are be enabled with the skills and expertise for increasing their innovation capacities, and in the long-run they will be motivated to apply for the H2020 SME Instrument which will be presented to them during the training phase by the experts. Furhtermore, to a certain extent, the project activities raised awareness about importance of more structured approach to innovation in all aspects – from idea generation, evaluation, project launching and assessment, innovation partnership, etc.