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Reporting period: 2021-12-01 to 2023-05-31

The European Union’s blue economy is fundamental to reach the sustainability and economic goals targeted through the European Green Deal and the Recovery Plan has strong impact in terms of growth and jobs in the European union. GALATEA has chosen to target 4 main domains of the Blue Economy having a high potential in terms of smart and sustainable growth : ports, ships, shipyards and maritime surveillance.

GALATEA aimed to develop new cross-sectoral and cross-border industrial value chains, supporting innovative SMEs and facilitated by clusters, to foster the development of Blue Growth key industries in Europe. This development has been based on the construction of new industrial value chains and the reconfiguration of existing ones driven by the integration of technologies and know-how from aerospace and ICT communities to Blue Growth.

To reach this overall objective, GALATEA implemented a strong methodology inspired by previous collaboration between most of the partners. This methodology was deployed in 3 steps:
1. Emergence of challenges: GALATEA identified the end-users needs and societal challenges related to Smart Port, Smart Ship, Smart Shipyard and maritime surveillance;
2. Emergence of ideas: GALATEA favoured the emergence of cross-sectoral and cross-border project ideas thanks to an open space solution and the organisation of events devoted to SMEs;
3. Innovation support: GALATEA provided direct support to SMEs thanks to the launch of Open Calls for vouchers and Call for services that help SMEs to fund their innovation development and to growth their businesses.
GALATEA partners worked together to reach the set-up objectives and towards a support to SMEs. Several actions have been done:
• Identification of 22 challenges in the target Blue Growth domains (Smart Port, Smart Ship, Smart Shipyard, Maritime surveillance) thanks to a survey, interviews and discussions with end-users;
• Organisation of Innovation Clubs in which GALATEA has favoured the sharing of ideas and skills and promoted the emergence of project ideas thanks to a design thinking methodology implemented remotely, on GALATEA open space platform;
• Organisation of B2B matchmaking sessions, hold on-line, in which participants had the opportunity to attend a webinar giving some detailed information on the GALATEA project and the Open Calls for vouchers and services and to meet potential partners to submit a GALATEA proposal and/or to build concrete partnerships for further business developments;
• Launch, evaluation and selection of 2 Open Calls for vouchers (January-March 2021 and September - December 2021). GALATEA consortium designed and implemented a complete process to enable SMEs to submit a proposal, to proceed to a fair and quality evaluation and to select 23 innovative projects addressing the identified challenges and supporting 42 SMEs;
• Launch, evaluation and selection of the Open Call for services. Continuously open from January 2021 to December 2022, the call offers to SMEs business coaching services on business model elaboration, technology expertise, internationalisation and funding opportunities. In total, 48 services have been provided to 29 SMEs;
• Follow-up of the SMEs funded through the Open Calls for vouchers thanks to continuous direct contacts and monitoring of their projects. The follow-up ended with a bilateral meeting between each SME and the cluster partner in charge, with aim to conclude the GALATEA support and to set up an action plan for next steps and further supports from the cluster;
• Organisation of 4 collective workshops gathering in total 59 companies. These workshops aimed to bring advice and recommendations to participants on hot topics for business development, such as business model elaboration, internationalisation in support of innovation, marketing and branding and how to pitch your business/idea;
• Realisation of a Guide for funding opportunity gathering call for projects open to SMEs in the 4 GALATEA domains at the European, national and regional levels. This guide has been disseminated broadly, to SMEs from the consortium network and beyond;
• Realisation of a projects catalogue, referencing the 23 projects developed through GALATEA support and the supported SMEs;
• Realisation of a video presenting GALATEA results and highlighting 4 funded projects, one in each GALATEA topic;
• Organisation of a final event in Marseille, on March 7th and 8th 2023, gathering SMEs, end-users and investors. In total, 61 participants, have been able to hear about GALATEA results, funding opportunities, investment funds, projects developed through the GALATEA innovation support mechanism and their adequation with the challenges and to exchange thanks to a B2B meetings session. A visit to the Grand Port Maritime de Marseille concluded the event with a global vision on the port infrastructures and innovation needs.
In total, GALATEA project supported directly or indirectly 220 SMEs. The short-term impact of the direct financial support has been measured at the end of GALATEA project and is positive for the business growth and innovative activities of supported SMEs.
GALATEA mechanism contributed to:
- The innovation performance: with 90% of beneficiaries improving their technical skills and knowledges, 76% of beneficiaries have launched a new or significantly improved product and 93% of beneficiaries have raised their solution TRL from 2 to 3 points;
- The employment: 79% of the supported SMEs measured an impact on employment thanks to GALATEA, with creation and/or safeguard of jobs;
- The market outlook: 81% of supported SMEs declare to have access to new markets.
This impact should be even greater at long-term, thanks to the new collaborations made by SMEs and to the geographical and sectoral market opening GALATEA has represented for companies that have been benefitting directly and indirectly of GALATEA support.