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Enhancing the innovation management capacity of SME's with the Enterprise Europe Network Canarias 2015-2016

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - E3Canarias 2015-2016 (Enhancing the innovation management capacity of SME's with the Enterprise EuropeNetwork Canarias 2015-2016)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-12-31

The E3Canarias 2015-2016 project aimed at Enhancing the Innovation Management Capacity (EIMC) of the Canary Islands’ SMEs, giving support to the most innovative small and medium size companies in the islands, as well as to the Canarian beneficiaries of the HORIZON 2020 dedicated SME instrument as Key Account Manager (KAM).

The SMEs beneficiaries of the Horizon 2020 SME instrument receive support during phase 1 to identify gaps, suitable coaches and facilitate initial coach-SME interaction to prepare coaching plan. Furthermore SMEs beneficiaries of phase 2 receive support for covering the interaction between the lead coach, the SME and the central management body of the SME Instrument. During 2015-2016, the Canary Islands region had one SME beneficiary of the SME instrument phase 1 and SME instrument phase 2.

The SMEs selected for enhancing the innovation management capacity service (EIMC) received innovation management capacity assessment including a gap analysis and the provision of targeted services to address recognized gaps. The assessment is based on the IMP³rove methodology. During 2015-2016, a total of 28 SMEs received EIMC assessment and 18 SMEs finished the complete service package, including the implementation of actions.

The service was delivered by the Technological Institute of the Canary Islands (ITC), as the EEN-Canarias expert dealing with innovation and R&D management in the Canary Islands, taking advantage of the expertise acquired by the ITC as the regional actor with competences in innovation development since 1995, as well as the closeness to the innovative SMEs in the region.
The SME beneficiary of the Horizon 2020 SME instrument in the Canary Islands was working in phase 1 during 2015 and starting phase 2 in 2016. The phase 1 project is finished and the phase 2 project is ongoing. Nowadays the company is receiving KAM support and advice in phase 3 activity, to participate in an overseas action in 2017. Several SMEs from the Canaries have prepared SME instrument project proposal, having regular contact with the ITC, which organises SME instrument events in the islands in close cooperation with the NCP. As a result, some of them received the seal of excellent and National funding for conducting phase 1, but not achieved EU funding for their projects.

The aim of EIMC services was to enhance innovation management capacity of those SMEs from the Canary Islands with real potential for growth, via product/service innovation, with the help of an Innovation Expert, to allow a diagnostic of the SME and the construction of a tailor-made development plan to enhance that SME’s capacity to better manage innovation.

During 2015-2016, a total of 28 SMEs within the most innovative companies from the Canary Islands received EIMC assessment, 4 of them started in 2014 and 24 companies carried out the assessment and benchmarking exercise, identifying their strengths, gaps between innovation capabilities and their innovation goals and needs and comparing their results with their competitors’ performance - the benchmarking sample was customized based on company size, age class, country and NACE industry classification. Some of the companies could not implement immediately the proposed action plan, but 18 companies received the full service package and implemented with the support of an Innovation Expert the most important actions arising from the opportunities detected, dependent on the type of SME, its sector, size, internal structures, innovation ambitions and capacity. The action plans consisted of a mix of activities to reach the companies’ objectives, handholding the SME to implement some of the actions, training in Innovation Management (2 specific training activities were developed following the suggestions from the assessed companies), links to regional support programmes, signposting to other Enterprise Europe Network services and other actions that need to be undertaken directly by the SME itself. Action plans includes activities such as:
• Participating in the SME Instrument.
• Open innovation. Taking part in DEMOLA Canary Islands Initiative.
• International contacts and exchange of experiences with other entrepreneurs. Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs.
• International partner search and technological offers and demands. Enterprise Europe Network Canary Islands.
• Participation in regional, national and international R&D or Innovation Programmes.
• Getting in contact with regional innovative clusters.
• Applying for National Seal for Innovative SMEs.
• Applying for fiscal incentives for R&D activities.
• Receiving specific training in innovation management.
• Receiving support on how to hire staff for innovation activities.
The beneficiary of the SME instrument initiative for ph1 and ph2 consider that the participation in this programme: 1) Helped the SME to enter into new markets, increasing their market share consolidate their position in current markets. 2) Obtained improve the satisfaction of clients. 3) Increased their innovation strategy and management.

The SME beneficiaries of the EIMC services SME instrument consider that this service impacts the company: 1) Obtaining Regional /National funding. 2) Applying to European Funding. 3) Receiving training and information actions in Innovation Balanced Scorecard and Technology Surveillance. 4) Participating in other innovation activities supported by the ITC such as the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneur and open innovation initiative Demola Canary Islands. 5) Strengthening contact with regional Clusters. 6) Receiving Enterprise Europe Network advisory services in partnering opportunities and participation in international events.
Most of the companies realized that they need some extra staff for the development of their most ambitious ideas or at least external support. Some of these companies are interested in hiring staff with the support of regional or national programmes, so they are waiting for the right call to apply for it. Other companies are in contact with the local universities looking for the most suitable ways of cooperation, including their participation in Open Innovation Schemes and technology transfer programmes.

Regarding the dissemination and exploitation of results, we conduct the following actions:
• SME instrument weakness detected: In cooperation with Enterprise Europe Network Canarias and NCP, the ITC organised four seminars related with SME instrument initiative, with the aim to disseminate and assess individually the proposals of the SMEs interested in this funding programme.
• EIMC weakness detected: The ITC organised an Innovation Balanced Scorecard Workshop in collaboration with the Spanish Quality Association. and Enterprise Europe Network.
• EIMC weakness detected: The ITC organised a Technology Surveillance and Competitive Intelligence seminar in collaboration with CDE Consultancy and Red CIDE.
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