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Establishment of Services enhancing the innovation managemtn capacity of SME's through the Enterprise Europe Network Ireland

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Ireland-SME-2021 (Establishment of Services enhancing the innovation managemtn capacity of SME's through the Enterprise Europe Network Ireland)

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

The issue being addressed is to ensure that companies that have been awarded funding by the European Union have the capability and capacity to carry out their planned programmes of work in line with their submisssions following the award of funding.

The benefits for society are the following:
Efficient use of European Union Funding that is awarded.
Improving the spin off benefits of funding for the benefits of the economy.
Increasing the level of innovation and to help to develop high growth companies in Europe
Creating employment and improving sustainability

The overall objectives are to increase growth, drive innovation, create high potential start-up companies, maximise the benefits of the funding and accelerate the scaling of SMEs.
Overview of KAM Engagement
The EASME Coaching Team requests that Enterprise Europe Network – Ireland assigns a case to a Key Account Manager (KAM). It is unlikely that we have offered advice to the client prior to this communication. A KAM who has no conflict of interest with the client is appointed to the case.

Some initial checks are carried out as part of a low level due-diligence to essentially confirm that the company is registered in the country, facilities, website, geographical location etc.

The company is then contacted by the KAM via an initial letter / e-mail to introduce, and describe the overall engagement. A number of tentative dates / times are suggested to align with the comapny’s schedule.

On a date agreed, the KAM carries out an Innovation benchmark utilising the Innovation Health Check tool to help establish how ‘Innovation’ oriented the company is.

This requires that the company scores a series of multi choice questions under six headings namely:
1. Innovation Culture,
2. Understanding the Business,
3. Strategy,
4. Structure,
5. Capability & Resources,
6. Processes.
The work-shop is carried out in a collaborative manner with 3-5-7 people from different areas and different levels within the company in a room together with the facilitator.
This process itself normally takes up to 3 hours to complete along with a tour of facilities / prototype introduction etc.

The purpose of the assessment is to identify the practices that the company has in place and the performance coming out of those practices. Questions need to be scored in respect of what is happening today (a snapshot) – not what used to happen or what is expected to happen in the future.

Following shortly after the workshop a body of work is carried out to prepare a report detailing the assessment results and the issues raised which will be reviewed and agree the coaching topics to be addressed. These outputs are then inputted into a “Needs Analysis” on the case tracker,.
The KAM to prepare’s a short list of coach(es) (normally up to 4 for a Phase I and 4 to 6 for a Phase II type of beneficiary) to be assigned.

Further, the KAM will be in a good position to provide ongoing assistance associated with the KAM engagement with the company and can be triggered during the initial Innovation Benchmark, where the services under the EEN and EU-IPR Helpdesk can be stratigically utilised by the company.

No results are available yet for the 2020-21 period as it has yet to start. We are totally dependent on the level of funding to be awarded to companies based in Ireland. The length of the individual projects is also an issue before any final conclusion can be arrived at pertaining to the benefits of the project.
Overall, the process improves the likelihood of success of the projects being undertaken by ensuring that they are carried out in an efficient and well planned way. This ensures that the funding being provided to the beneficiaries is used in a way that the maximum benefits can be realised.

Society benefits from this as it is shown that the coaching has a very positive impact on the implementation and progress of the projects that are being funded helping to maximise output, increase the likelihood of success, value for money and the completion of the projects within the specified timeframes. This also improves the capability of the project teams leading to them attaining a higher level of awareness of the implications of what they are doing.

It is difficult to predict the results of any project particularly ones involving new or emerging technologies. It is important that risks are taken and that projects proceed in a manner that what ever inherent risks there are in the projects they are managed in the best possible manner to ensure a successful outcome.
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