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Enhancing the Innovation Management Capacity of SMEs (by EEN), Slovenia

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - We4SMESLO (Enhancing the Innovation Management Capacity of SMEs (by EEN), Slovenia)

Reporting period: 2014-05-01 to 2014-12-31

"The EC has within its Survey of 2011, carried out on request of DG Enterprise and Industry (DG EI), realized that the main barriers of innovation in the eyes of the SMEs, are lack of financial resources and inability to manage innovation process.
Since different understandings of the term ""Innovation Management System"" (IMS) have been noted the EC has supported European Committee for Standardization to provide the stakeholders with a unified definition of relevant parts in the IMS. According to this definition the most important parts of IMS include company's innovation processes from idea generation to innovation result, but also leadership, management skills and other enabling factors, like the ability to cooperate with third parties like RD partners, clients, and suppliers.
In Slovenia, the situation can be assessed as similar (as for example specified in the OECD Reviews of the Innovation policy – Slovenia reference) to the one DG EI has noted through its Survey, however stepping one step further: There is not only a problem of SMEs not being able to manage innovation process properly, but also of not being aware of the fact that a lesser knowledge of innovation process management could be an issue.


The objective of the project WE4SMESLO (Enhancing the Innovation Management Capacity of SMEs (by EEN), Slovenia) in Slovenia was to enable Slovenian SMEs to bridge the knowledge gap in innovation management, get aware of shortages and improve their internal innovation management system and/or focus on achieving market value with their inventions. The consortium achieved these objectives with providing following services:
1.) Enhancing the Innovation Management Capacity of SMEs. The beneficiaries received diagnostic of their innovation system based on the standardized IMP³rove tool. This lead to the formation of tailored action plan to improve the SME’s capacity to better manage innovation.
2.) Key Account Managers – Facilitators for the H2020 SME Instrument. Key Account Managers identified and sourced appropriate lead coaches (from predefined pool of coaches), facilitated linking the SMEs to innovation support services and to supported the lead coach in delivering services to the SME. The SME Instrument participants received the most appropriate services and support to enhance the probability of successful exploitation of the innovation project in order to leave a footprint for the future sustainable growth of these beneficiaries.

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The work performed during the project period related to three work packages (WPs) defined in the project:
- WP1 Coordination and Management
- WP2 “Key account management” for the beneficiaries of the SME instrument
- WP3 “Enhancing SME innovation management capacity” for innovating SME independently from a specific project

In the scope of We4SMESLO project four consortium partners covering a national territory of Slovenia performed two types of activities: KAM services for beneficiaries of SME Instrument and IMP3rove approach services for innovative SMEs in Slovenia.
The general objective of this project was to enable SMEs to bridge the knowledge gap in innovation management, get aware of shortages and improve their internal innovation management system and/or focus on achieving market value with their inventions. In the scope of limited resources the general objective was partly met and further efforts will be needed to reach more SMEs with concrete activities and/or awareness raising activities.
The specific objective – delivering 11 service packages to SMEs - was fully met. The consortium partners delivered 2 KAM services to SME Instrument beneficiaries and 9 IMP3rove approach services to innovative Slovenian SMEs.

At the beginning of the project main concern was to build-up partners’ own capacities to successfully deliver proposed activities:
- For KAM services a common approach had to be identified at the Network level. EASME provided guidelines and tools (life cycle and business tree models, temporary case-tracker tool) and partners localized the provided documents.
- For IMP3rove approach capacity building decentralized training was organized (and provided by IMP3rove Academy) for 12 participants in July 2014 in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
The consortium partners delivered 2 KAM services to SME Instrument beneficiaries and 9 IMP3rove approach services to innovative Slovenian SMEs.
Impact of the We4SME project is in-line with the demanded impact described in the Work programme as a direct impact brings a significantly enhanced growth and profitability of SMEs receiving the services. Innovation processes of the companies benefiting from the WE4SMEs services are conducted more efficient and more effectively. Indirect impact is seen in the introduction of high quality innovation management capacity assessment of the beneficiaries.
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