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French MEDiterranean Support for INNOvative SMEs

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MED4INNO (French MEDiterranean Support for INNOvative SMEs)

Reporting period: 2014-06-01 to 2014-12-31

MED4INNO Project proposal is an extension of the running MED2EUROPE Project financed under Competitiveness Innovation Program for Enterprise Europe Network activity. The project covers the whole of the French Mediterranean area with 3 regions: Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur, Languedoc-Roussillon and Corsica (NUTS-1 FR7). The project aims at to put in place a reinforced SME Service Support, named Service Package.
The objective of the MED4INNO project is to provide specific support through those Service Packages to a limited number of SME beneficiaries, clients of our EEN activities. The final objective is to go further on individual support with our SME clients than we are able to do in the strict EEN work plan. 33 Service Packages are available during the project. We focus specific SME : regional SMEs which demonstrate their willingness to growth on foreign markets with innovative added value offer. Our regional SME are often too small or too young or less capitalized than any other companies . The final impact of support service provided is similar to the objective of SME Instrument: to turn our SMEs with significant innovation activities into investors’ ready SMEs.

This support is split in 2 categories of SME cases:
- 1 - SMEs with significant activities in innovative project development with an international growth strategy
- 2 – SMEs granted under the SME Instrument program (H2020)
The support provided in these 2 cases is different:
1: our action is oriented on a specific task: contribute to Enhance Innovation Management Capacity of selected SME (EIMC)
2: our action consists in acting as Key Account Manager (KAM) on behalf of EASME to prepare the delivery of external Coaching Activities for granted regional SMEs.
These 2 actions aim to turn our most promising SMEs into fast growing companies, by helping them to integrate expert contribution via (KAM) or Innovation Advisors from our team (EIMC).
Due to the late start of the action, we were unable to meet the entire objectives of the project. 2 main reasons delayed the operational start of this project in providing support to SMEs:
- Date to enter into contract very late due to contract management issue with EASME and IT issues with H2020 participant portal.
- Inevitable time lag for Training period to understand the Diagnostic Tools and integrate them into our service process.
Training sessions for two pre-selected tools took place as soon as possible i.e. mid-July for CheckInnov and mid-September for Improve.

Anyway, despite this late, we started the process of service delivery as described in our work program. 7 cases have been started :
- 2 on KAM activities (WP1)
- 5 on EIMC activities (WP2)
2 cases have been initiated on WP1 for KAM action: contact with the SME with EASME mandate letter, first meeting to present KAM and Coaching action, Need analysis assessment, Coach recruitment, Coaching Plan validation, follow-up and final report.
5 cases have been initiated on WP2 for EIMC action: identification of SMEs, assessment of their innovation management capacity, analysis of their needs and gaps, drafting of the action plan.
The regional split of Service Packages started during this period is:
- 6 in PACA region
- 1 in Languedoc-Roussillon region
At the end of action in late 2014, it was not yet possible to measure the impact of the service packages. First, most of the Service packages concern Initial Assessment Analysis and recommandation : no complete Service Packages has been achieved entirely.
Anyway, first feedbacks from beneficiaries reveal this issue: even if necessary, the use of Tools for prediagnosis step must be shortened as much as possible. Most of the analysis translates diagnosis outputs in generalities that general managers already know or expect.