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Enhancing the innovation management capacity of SMEs through the Enterprise Europe Network in Macedonia (INNO EEN-M)

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - INNO EEN-M (Enhancing the innovation management capacity of SMEs through the Enterprise Europe Network in Macedonia (INNO EEN-M))

Reporting period: 2019-01-01 to 2019-12-31

The INNO EEN-M project delivered 8 (eight) 7-days service packages to local SMEs that enabled increasing their innovation management capacities. The services from the INNO EEN-M project provided in 2019 had positive impact and contribution to the overall growth of the companies strengthening their innovation and competitiveness. The general objective of the INNO EEN-M project was achieved contributing to increasing the innovation management capacities of the local SMEs through offering a standardized set of coaching and innovation management services while ensuring synergy with other innovation-related services of the Enterprise Europe Network in Macedonia (EEN-M). The project met the general and strategic objectives of the call by creating baseline for accelerating the economic returns from improved innovation skills, processes, utilization of innovative ideas and quality improvements. Common practices and Code of Conduct are being exploited for ensuring high level of confidence and trust. In line with the strategic objective, the project provided necessary tools, knowledge and experience to the EEN-M for implementation of the specific activities in the context of innovation support (Horizon 2020).
The team of the INNO EEN-M project delivered the activity by ensuring synergy with the other innovation-related services of the Enterprise Europe Network in Macedonia (EEN-M) and in accordance with the Implementation Strategy. The project provided necessary tools, knowledge and experience for implementation of this activity. The innovation support services brought an added-value to the standard services of the EEN in Macedonia ensuring synergy with the business, technology transfer and R&D services.
The local SMEs were supported and innovation management assessments were delivered. The team used the IMP³rove tool as an assessment tool. Direct consulting support was provided to the companies for facilitating the process of creation and commercialization of new innovations.
The Key Account Management service was not performed as no Macedonian company was granted beneficiary of the SME instrument, FET Open and FTI. Still, this service and its value are well promoted to the potential beneficiaries with high potential for internationalization.
The INNO EEN-M project delivered the Enhancing Innovation Management Capacity for innovating SMEs activity and 8 (eight) SMEs were supported. The project couldn’t deliver the Key Account Management service for the beneficiaries of the SMEs Instrument as none SME from North Macedonia was granted SME instrument, FET Open and FTI. The team supported the companies to apply for the SME instrument, FET Open and FTI and provided support for facilitating the process of creation and commercialization of new innovations. The team made available the necessary tools and knowledge for implementation of the specific activities in the context of innovation support. Additionally, the SMEs training needs related to innovation management was measured. All supported SMEs through this project were additionally introduced to other COSME services and all other local Network members contributed to securing appropriate linkages and service delivery according to the EEN-M project (covering all the other standard Network activities).
The INNO EEN-M team is composed of three members. All three members have already been trained for Introduction to the IMP³rove Approach training, one in 2014, and the other two in 2017. One of the members attended the advanced IMP³rove training – Innovation Strategy development, 8-9 July 2019, in Madrid, Spain.
The team used the IMP³rove tool as a diagnostic tool for the innovation management capacity assessments and eight 7-days service packages were delivered.
The direct impact of the services provided by this project on clients was evident in: presentation of their innovation shortcomings and utilizing different sources of funding for enhancing their internationalization, innovation and resource capacities; improving the innovation management capacities, increasing their competitiveness, increasing the participation in research and innovation programs (e.g. H2020, SME Instrument).
The performed activities contributed to addressing the challenges that innovative SMEs in the country face. This had several effects on organizational and industry level. It helped to the SMEs to clearly identify their position regarding their innovation management capabilities. Through the inclusion of more SMEs it is ensured that on medium and long run will require every SME that wants to internationally and be innovative to evaluate it capabilities and make justified decisions on how to proceed. This will result in increase of the possibility for successful innovation and internationalization of the SMEs. The European-added value and provisioning of high quality innovation services on enhancing the innovation management capacities of the SMEs create synergy for maximizing the impact of these services.
The INNO EEN-M project activities have been performed in full alignment with the EEN-M Implementation strategy that provides introducing two new, distinct types of innovation services. Furthermore, these services add additional value to the Consortium to perform specific expert innovation services which relate to signposting of EIMC clients to other COSME services.
The direct impact of the services provided by this project on clients was evident in: understanding the importance of the innovation management, and utilizing different sources of funding for enhancing their internationalization, innovation and resource efficiency capacities; improving the innovation management capacities (new business model innovation, HR management, organizational management); increasing competitiveness on the local market (introducing new products and services, new product’s design, new marketing strategy).
The INNO EEN-M provided EIMC service to 8 (eight) local SMEs. Unfortunately, no Key Account Management service for the beneficiaries of the SME instrument, FET Open and FTI was delivered because none SME from North Macedonia was granted SME instrument, FET Open and FTI. Still, the team supports the Macedonian SMEs to apply for SME instrument. The new in-depth service packages increased the awareness about the importance of the development of the innovation management capacities within the SMEs. The promotion went also during the local and regional events and workshops.