Skip to main content

Services enhancing the innovation management capacity of SMEs in the Enterprise Europe Network 2019

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Swennis 2019 (Services enhancing the innovation management capacity of SMEs in the Enterprise Europe Network 2019)

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

Successful growth companies tend to be significantly better at innovation management than average. However, most SMEs and SME support organisations consider the inability to manage innovation processes efficiently and effectively as one of the most important barriers to create economic impact (competitiveness, growth and jobs) from innovation activities in SMEs.

The objective of this project Swennis 2019 was to address these problems by providing services enhancing the innovation management capacity of innovating SMEs to increase and accelerate their economic returns from innovation.

Two SME target groups have received up to 7-day work packages in this project. However, it is an ongoing activity, so all SMEs haven't received all 7 days during the period. They have been divided into the following work packages:

WP1 KAM Services: SME beneficiaries of the funding schemes SME Instrument, European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator, Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) and Future and Emerging Technologies Open (FET-Open) under H2020 – to be supported by Key Account Managers (KAM); and

WP2 EIMC services: SMEs with significant innovation activities and a high potential for internationalisation – to be supported by innovation experts to ensure that the innovation management capacity of the SME is increased (EIMC-Enhanced Innovation Management Capacity).

The total number of 122 SMEs were mentored by twelve innovation experts in two work packages:
• 102 SMEs received KAM services during the period (including 2 FTI). 49 cases were completed during the project period. One ongoing FET- Open was also supported.
• 20 SMEs received EIMC services of which 16 started their EIMC process and 13 completed.

The distribution between KAM and EIMC services depended on the number of successful SMEs applying for the SME Instrument/EIC Accelerator, FTI and FET-Open. The number of Swedish beneficiaries of H2020 projects was high during 2019 and therefore more SMEs become subject for KAM services at the expense of EIMC.

The Swennis project team consists of twelve innovation experts from four partner organisations (RISE IVF, RISE, LTU Business and Invest Skåne - all members of SweNet under COSME).
The success rate of Swedish beneficiaries of H2020 projects (SME Instrument, EIC Accelerator, FTI and FET-Open) was extremely high during the period and totally 102 SMEs have been supported by a KAM.
The process to appoint KAMs for each case has been fast and well adopted and the experienced team of KAMs have carried out need analysis to identify suitable business coaches in the database provided by EASME. In most cases an international coach was selected by the SME. KAM services have been appreciated. The KAM was also moderating the coach-client relationship, accompanied the beneficiaries through SME instrument project.

The second target group of 20 SMEs was identified for the EIMC process. A pre-meeting was carried out prior to the assessment. The assessments were carried out using IMP³rove or Innovation Health Check and action plans were developed accordingly. Typical issues addressed during the implementation phase were innovation strategy, radical innovation, strategic foresight, organisational development, recruitment, funding and importance of strategic external partners. Innovation Due Diligence (IDD4SME), which is a coaching method to validate the market potential of a single innovation and to produce a strategy on how to reach the most promising market segments was implemented in some smaller and younger SMEs focusing on a single innovation.

All four partners in the Swennis project were partners in SweNet to guarantee full integrated services for business and innovation support. Typical EEN services provided were partner search, finding new technologies and EU- funding, advisory services and brokerage events. Some partnership agreements and advisory service outcomes were achieved. Each client specific needs have been prioritised during the client journey ensuring that they made the best use of the local, national and EU ecosystem.
Swedish SMEs that have benefited from the project are most likely better prepared to handle future innovations and there are signs that show that they have increased their innovation management capacity as a result of having received EIMC or KAM services that hopefully will lead to long term positive economic impact (competitiveness, growth and jobs). Enhancing innovation capacity is a continuous process that takes time to implement and the results.
The direct impact on clients of the KAM services is not easy to assess after only three days of support. However, for those cases assessed after coaching, a great satisfaction was noticed, and many clients expressed a possible potential for growth and profitability. Some clients say they have potential to grow in terms of turnover and employees and are looking for new business partners, but also in terms of new orders and new market introductions.
Concerning EIMC- services, it’s also obvious that the innovation capacity has increased and that clients have started to think differently. Some expected benefits are increased competitiveness, profitability, turnover and sustainability, new customers, markets & partners, strategic foresight processes, enhanced innovation capacity, more radical innovations, cost-effectiveness.
Film about Innovation Management