Periodic Reporting for period 1 - INNCAT1516 (Enhancing INNovation management capacity of CATalan small and medium enterprises 2015-2016)
Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-12-31
Through the project INNCAT1516, ACCIÓ (Catalan Agency for Business Competitiveness) has served, in the period 2015-16, 140 (131 SMEs) innovation cases:
• 26 cases (26 SMEs) for Innovation Management (EIMC) and
• 114 cases (105 SMEs) for Key Account Management (KAM): 89 cases of them successfully accepted coaching, 6 cases didn’t accept coaching and 19 cases hadn’t take a decision yet.
KAM & EIMC services were offered to 49 successful closed cases (39 KAM, 10 EIMC). Both KAM and EIMC services will help SMEs improve their innovation projects’ results.
Each SME beneficiary of the Horizon 2020 SMEI has access to a free business innovation coaching service (3-days for Phase 1 beneficiaries and 12-days for Phase 2 beneficiaries) offered by the European Commission. These services are offered additionally to the grants received by the SMEs for their innovation project, with the main objective to help them overcome the challenge of bringing a new product or service to the market and, thus, bridge the so called innovation valley of death.
It is the role of the KAM to help the SME make the most of the coaching service, offering them a short list of suitable coaches to collaborate with and supporting them through all process.
In the period 2015-16 Catalan SMEs have had an excellent participation in the SMEI programme. Its participation represents more than 4% of the EU results and more than 23% of the overall Spanish participation. ACCIÓ’s EEN advisory services contributed positively to this success disseminating the opportunities SMEI offers and providing guidance to the target SMEs willing to apply.
All (100%) Catalan beneficiaries of the SMEI have been contacted and received KAM services. Furthermore, SMEs beneficiaries from previous SMEI cut-off received services too (cases started within project INNCAT 14).
In total, KAM services have been offered to 114 cases (105 SMEs) of the SMEI, phase I and II.
KAM services offered by ACCIÓ followed an easy 4-step process where 1) the company was contacted by the KAM to exchange general information. Once the company accepted receiving the service, a business innovation need analysis was performed using an open-source tool developed under an European Project (sME-mPOWER); 2) The result of the analysis was used by the KAM to select 3 suitable coaches from the European Commission Database; 3) the company selected the coach and started the business coaching sessions; 4) the service was closed and KAM gathered feedback for improving forthcoming services.
The coaching services were provided to 89 cases (86 SMEs). 39 cases (39 SMEs) were successfully closed and only 6 cases (6 SMEs) didn’t accept any coaching service.
Enhancing Innovation Management Capacity for innovating SMEs
To help improve innovation management capacities in SMEs, ACCIÓ offered to Catalan SME assessment services using IMP3rove and Innovation Health Check (IHC), two tools that demonstrates compliance to the innovation management standard CEN/TS 16555-1. The services were offered by highly qualified senior staff trained in using IMP3rove and IHC and with experience delivering EIMC to SMEs.
The EIMC service for SMEs followed a 4-step process where selected SME with willingness to grow 1) received an assessment in Innovation Management capacity using the IMP3rove or IHC methodology; 2) based on the assessment needs/gap analysis results, an action plan was presented to the company; 3) the SME decided to implement the action plan and; 4) the case is closed and feedback was provided to ACCIÓ.
Once the service has finished, companies should be in a better position to manage its internal innovation processes in such a way that they were not only aligned with, but fully integrated into the company's overall business development and growth strategy.
ACCIÓ delivered EIMC services to 26 SMEs. 8 services were started in 2014, 7 in 2015 and 11 in 2016. Out of the 26 EIMC services, 10 were closed successfully and only 1 abandoned. The other 15 SMEs will continue during 2017-2018.
So far, no surveys to measure actual impact of KAM services provided have been carried out. These kind of surveys will be more suitable during the period 2017-18 when first SMEI Phase II projects will end and first SMEI products and services are expected to reach the market.
Nevertheless, some SMEs already reported successful impact. A paramount example is the Smartive case, winner of the “New Horizons” prize in the EEN’s 2016 annual conference in Bratislava. Thanks to the coach and KAM services Smartive was able to win the Phase II and reach new big clients. Such an impressive client list is expected to help increase the company’s annual turnover from EUR 500 000 to EUR 5 million in 2019. Other examples about the impact of SMEI beneficiaries are: NECTRIA won the 1st price in ACCIÓ’s investment forum 2016; Chimigraph has been acquired by the multinational Kao Corporation ; Worldcoo raised 2.3M€ in funding .
Phase III of the SMEI is focused to commercialisation and preparation for market launch of SMEs. KAM team mainly provided 5 kind of Phase III services for SMEI beneficiaries, in connection with COSME activities:
1) Promotion of the participation of SMEs in the SMEI’s Overseas Trade Fairs Programme; 2) Financial advisory services for SMEI beneficiaries; 3) Organisation of SMEI pitch events in relevant forums and international fairs celebrated in Barcelona; 4) A monthly information e-mail is sent to all SMEI beneficiaries in Catalonia; 5) Registration as EEN users for partnering services of the majority of SMEI beneficiaries.
Enhancing Innovation Management Capacity for innovating SMEs
Regarding the EIMC services, Out of the 26 EIMC services, 10 were successfully closed, in addition only one abandoned and the other 15 will continue in the period 2017-2018. Then, 90.9% of the services could be considered as successful.
Relevant impacts include a more than 100% of turnover increase by an SME, the creation of an innovation committee, the systematisation of innovation process and hiring of qualified staff (innovation manager), among others.