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Enhancing the innovation management capacities of SMEs in East Poland 2019

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - KAM2EastPoland2019 (Enhancing the innovation management capacities of SMEs in East Poland 2019)

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

Innovation support has been one of the main EU policy issues in recent years. Special support was offered to SMEs. The most important problem indicated by enterprises was the lack of financial resources. The second one was the inability to efficiently and effectively manage innovation processes. Moreover, some key l areas for Polish SMEs such as skills, innovativeness and exploiting the potential of the foreign markets, remained chronically underperformed. Those deficiencies are particularly visible in Eastern Poland. Some of these needs have been met by the biggest European Network – EEN through information and advisory services, trainings and internationalization services but innovation management support (mentoring and coaching services to develop the ideas from the concept to the market) still needed to be improved and this is why new services were established under H2020 programme. The services (complementary to EEN services) were very important for society, especially for the target group: SMEs with a high potential for innovation in Eastern Poland as they contributed to increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of R&D and innovation investments, which is crucial for smart and sustainable growth in the EU and this concept was also the main objective of the project. The main objectives in Eastern Poland were implemented by five Partners: LDF, LUT, PRDF, UWM, WMRDA, by two specific objectives:
- Increase the economic potential of enterprises benefiting from SME Instrument underHorizon 2020 by identifying bottlenecks and indicating problems solved by a capable coach. This objective was implemented by establishing a specially designed service “Key account management”;
- Increase of innovation potential of small and medium-sized enterprises without professional support in innovation management. This objective was implemented by a specially designed activity: “Enhancing the innovation management capacity of SMEs”. The consortium Partners declared to achieve
5 KAM services and 20 EIMC to achieve the objectives of the project (Clients mentored – 25).
EENEP Partners focused on providing a high level of services to SMEs in Eastern Poland. Five Consortium Partners were involved in KAM2EastPoland project and implemented two groups of services: “Key account management” for the beneficiaries of the SME instrument and “Enhancing SME innovation management capacity” for innovative SMEs. Each Partner employed staff with appropriate competences to cooperate with a client with high potential for innovation management. All staff dedicated to the project implementation was approved by PO. All KAM/EIMC experts participated in IMProve and Innovation Health Check trainings to be able to offer the highest level of services.

One of the most important activities, was the promotion of the services aimed at encouraging potential SMEs. All Partners provided information about KAM and EIMC for SMEs during e.g.: company visits, events, etc. All benefits of KAM and EIMC services were presented in order to encourage SMEs to participate in KAM2EastPoland project.

The Consortium had 5 KAM services to implement but due to little interest in H2020 in regions served by EENEP only 1 service was implemented . The implementation of 20 EIMC services was planned and 30 were implemented in 2019. Support for 25 clients (clients mentored) was planned and the plan was implemented in 124% (31 clients were supported). A very important achievement is the fact that the SMEs willing to use EIMC services see potential benefits for business development. This, in turn, gives reasons to believe that more companies will be interested in using the EIMC services in the future period of the project.
EENEP Partners supported a total of 31 SMEs for EIMC and KAM. All services were provided in order to clearly show both - where the company is actually located and how to be growth – oriented. In order to maximise the impact on SMEs, all services provided were fully integrated in the wider service offer by Enterprise Europe Network East Poland Consortium. The partners followed a client-centric approach, focusing on supporting the client's needs throughout the client journey and paying attention to the client’s experience. In order to ensure integrated services for SMEs, cooperation with the Contact Points for SMEs and the financial instruments under Horizon 2020 was continued by all Partners. Direct impact declared by the clients:

- services lead to launching the following into the market: new products in 8 companies, new processes in 5 companies, new methods in 6 companies,
- 12 companies introduced or planning to introduce innovations new to the company, as well 12 companies introduced or planning to introduce innovations new to the market,
- 1 prototype was submitted by the company. The client is working on a prototype of a wireless device (Beacon) for measuring electricity consumption in business entities and public institutions,
- innovation processes in companies were conducted more efficiently and effectively,
- some clients confirmed that EIMC services allowed them to : improve the quality of the customer relationship; improve the client’s market position by the attracting foreign partners to cooperate in the technologies offered by the company; launch new investments and alternative sources; effectively develop innovative projects within the company through recommended changes,
- one achievement was obtained thanks to synergy of H2020, EEN and Scale up services,
- one of the companies already at this stage declared 15% savings on the material used for its products,
- the impact of services on job creation and financial benefits can be noted in the future as these services have been provided relatively recently and therefore the full potential of the services may not have been achieved yet.