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Key Account Management process for beneficiaries of the EU funded programmes SME-instrument, FTI and FET-Open and services to enhance the INnOvation management capacities of SMEs

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - KAMINO-2 (Key Account Management process for beneficiaries of the EU funded programmes SME-instrument, FTI and FET-Open and services to enhance the INnOvation management capacities of SMEs)

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

The main objective of the project is to strengthen the international competitiveness and growth of research-oriented SMEs. Specifically, the project will focus on the following objectives:
• Key account Management (KAM) for successful applicants of the SME instrument in HORIZON 2020 (H2020)
• a significantly improved innovation management in SMEs, expressed by the number of assessed and advised SMEs and successful accomplished missions (EIMC),
• a better access and an increased participation of SMEs in EEN support services and in EU funding programs, expressed by the number of encouraged SMEs participating in EU funded projects.

Related to KAM service, the project will give beneficiaries of the SME instrument in H2020 a competent regional support for a successful implementation of their funded project. For EIMC support, the project partners are envisaged to identify regional innovative SMEs wanting to enter the international market. Together with the company the partners analyse the innovation capacities, innovation processes, innovation strategies, digitalisation effects and internal organization structures as well as their relations to innovation partners. The project aims to understand the SMEs capacity in these processes and the implemented tools in their innovation management under the new global challenges to protect the environment and to perform a contribution against the global warming.
In 2019 the three partners SFZ, ATI and TPW worked closely together to provide adequate support to SMEs in a high quality although two experienced staff members left the consortium.
For the KAM support in total three cases were performed. The partner SFZ accompanied one Phase 2 SME-instrument project from 2018, which include more difficulties as expected, because the company settled in our region after application phase and could not accompanied in proposal screening and complete H2020 support from the early beginning. Finally and according to the consequent and professional work of the SFZ KAM expert in mediation and in close relation with the EASME this case finished successful.
The other Phase 1 SME-instrument project run in a regular way and brought a lot of additional benefit for the SME and for the EEN partner because a very experienced coach was engaged. The second Phase 1 SME-instrument case was started at the end of 2018 and finished successful by guidance of the partner ATI in the second half of 2019.
Supporting the KAM process for beneficiaries of the EU funded programms the number of regional successful cases is the basis of these activities. In Mecklenburg-Vorpommern the number of these cases is traditional low and three accompanied cases in one year represent the current situation take into consideration the funding rate of SME-instrument apllications. But the permanent interaction between the partners and exchange of experiences bring all staff members closer together and in the follow-up to adequate results in the reporting period 2019.

EIMC activities
For EIMC support in WP2 the three project partners work closely together and inform each other during steering group meetings. The activities include 12 new cases, where as four cases could finished in the reporting period. The special circumstances in an objective 3 area and the innovation environment require adapted methodological approaches. Consequently the service concept was updated, innovation creator tools were developed and more intensive service was provided for start-ups. These steps require adapted efforts by the partners experts and will show first results in 2020.
All project partners are envisaged to identify regional innovative SMEs which want to enter the international market.
To accomplish this goal in close cooperation with the company, the KAMINO partners analyse with the interview technique the innovation capacities, innovation processes, innovation strategies and internal organization structures as well as their relation to innovation partners. As a result of this procedure the consultants of the project team are able to identify gaps and bottlenecks. Jointly with the SME the EIMC expert discuss the documented results of the potential analysis, define measures and work plans to overcome them. In the further course, the recommended activity plan is marked with priorities and project aims to start internationalization. The advised SMEs put more efforts to innovation management activities, used EEN services for partner search, were coached and received special advice also from the network sector groups to achieve the jointly defined targets.

As indicated in the PES the KAMINO partners together delivered in the reporting period 6 complete service packages, 2 KAM packages (WP 1) and 4 EIMC packages (WP 2). The planned number of service packages was reached although essential staff changes in 2019 in the consortium took place. Additionally, 8 EIMC cases started in the last quarter of 2019 and will finished in 2020.
Impact and added value arise in three main directions.The socio-economic impact for the SME which comprise:
• Detailed analysis of company’s status quo in terms of their market position, finance situation, personnel capacities,
• knowledge about innovation processes, internationalization strategy, etc.
• Concrete actions (mentoring and coaching) being taken to enhance the competitiveness
• More integrated service provision to the SMEs in national activities with international partners (IraSME, Era-nets)
• Major step towards business development for internationalization in the EU and third countries
• optimized research and development activities in the SMEs with special use of EU programs

The impact for EEN M-V contains:
• Companies got EIMC cases use complete EEN services and develop their potential to further engage with EEN support and advice
• Improved collaboration with other regional service providers for regional development support or relevant NGOs
• Learning from EIMC experiences and further integration of new tools in adaptation to regional needs
• improvement of the professionalism of the services

The impact for the regional development:
A new level of interaction with regional stakeholder and regional authorities started, because real synergies got visible now. The potential synergies lead to a systematic approach and will be established in a permanent dialogue process. The role of the EEN M-V is recognized for international activities of SMEs by the relevant ministries of infrastructure, energy, transport, education and business, employment and health. The competences and experiences of the EEN M-V will influence the new regional innovation strategy “smart specialization” (2021-2027) of the federal country.