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Innovation services and key account management support for Basque SMEs during 2015-2016

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BASKAM (Innovation services and key account management support for Basque SMEs during 2015-2016)

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

Provided with about €3 billion in funding over the period 2014-2020, the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument helps high-potential SMEs to develop ground breaking innovative ideas for products, services or processes that are ready to face global market competition. The SME instrument supports close-to-market activities, with the aim to give a strong boost to breakthrough innovation. Highly innovative SMEs with a clear commercial ambition and a potential for high growth and internationalization are the prime target.

The BASKAM proposal aims at providing the Basque SMEs two new Enterprise Europe Network services:
1) Key Account Management (KAM) for SME Instrument beneficiaries and
2) Enhancing Innovation Management Capacity (EIMC) of innovating SMEs,
These new services are provided in an additional but integrated way to the usual EEN activities related to the SME competitiveness and innovation.

The aim of the KAM services is to conduct an analysis and assessment of the innovation needs that each individual beneficiary has to carry out the project and based on them, an agreed programme of coaching will be provided to support their project realisation, leveraging partnerships to connect them with relevant advice and funding support, including the provision of specialized coaches. KAM will also have the responsibility for accompanying the beneficiary throughout the entire SME Instrument project, getting the full SME´s satisfaction.

The objective of the EIMC services is to define a consulting service that demonstrates a measurable positive impact on the capacities of promising SMEs to manage their innovation processes. The goal is to explain how the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) will assess a subset of promising individuals SMEs and support them to develop their innovation management. When EEN identifies a promising SME capable of growth and successful internationalisation, an assessment of the current status of innovation management capacity of the SME will be carried out, highlighting their main weaknesses and needs in order to develop and implement a jointly agreed action plan to improve the SME’s capacity to manage innovation processes.

The overall objective of the BASKAM project is to offer the Basque SMEs tailored support to allow companies to implement a global strategy and be able to quickly take advantage of cross‐border activities, so they can count with a competitive advantage that will facilitate their access to European and international markets.
Currently, the Basque Consortium has 36 Cases and 35 Coaching Activities in the coachcom Case-tracker. Basque KAMs have made an important effort in detecting new coaches that fitted with the requirements of business coaching for the SME Instrument beneficiaries.

The BASKAM Consortium has attended to 4 seminars, training sessions and/or events; and organized in collaboration with the Basque Technological Parks and the Spanish National Contact Point an InfoDay on the SME Instrument which had an attendance of more than 100 participants, one workshop with the Spanish NCP for SME Instrument Phase 2 preparation with an assistance of 50 participants.
Some beneficiary companies accompanied by the Basque KAMs during this period were also supported with other services and activities like initiatives related to the SME Instrument Phase III, as the Overseas Trade Fairs Initiative.

The BASKAM team has celebrated internal meetings twice a year, in order to review the progress carried out during each KAM service

Regarding the service offered by the Basque Node related to “Enhancing Innovation Management Capacities”, in 2015 and 2016, we have provided and completed the service to the 3 companies we started in 2014: Innoprot, S.L. Syslan IIA and LUMA INDUSTRIAS S.A. and started with four other companies: ANER Sistemas Informáticos S.L. Bultzaki S.L. Stern Hidráulica and Arteca. Although having focused efforts in presenting the methodology to different specific companies, just 7 of the 10 planned SMEs (4 in the 2014 Pilot Project and 6 in the BASKAM 2015-2016 project) have taken part in the service. We have used the IMP3rove methodology.
The partners participating in this action, Innobasque and SPRI, proposed fro the period 2015 and 2016 to deliver 28 “service packages” to SMEs in our region: 22 KAM services to SME Instrument beneficiaries (12 Phase 1 and 10 Phase 2.) and 6 “Enhancing Innovation Management Capacity” services. Regarding the KAM services, during the period, we have finished the 3 Phase 1 cases from 2014 and provided services to 25 Phase 1 beneficiaries and to 8 Phase 2 beneficiaries. Regarding the EIMC services, we have finished the 3 cases from 2014 and provides services to 7 SMEs of the 10 expcected in the proposal.

The conclusion in that the results of the SME Instrument calls in the Basque Country are excellent and in the Phase 1 case, the results exceed the expectations. The potential impact of the SME Instrument is very important both for the SME beneficiaries, in particular, and for the Basque industrial tissue in general. Besides, most of the projects developed by these companies are in line with our Basque RIS3 strategic priorities: Advanced manufacturing; Energy and Biosciences-health.

The consortium has successfully executed the Implementation Strategy and has developed preparatory actions for the KAM service in order to prepare interested companies for SME Instrument Phase 1 and Phase 2. During the period, the partners offered advice to the Basque SMEs interested in applying to the SME Instrument Calls, both Phase I and II, in particular to the SMEs with the Seal of Excellence. It is important to highlight that several Basque SMEs have been beneficiaries of the HOIRZONTE PYME Program an Initiative of the Spanish Government that support the SMEs winners of the Phase I Seal of Excellence. Unfortunately, there are no Programs, national or local, which support the winners of the Phase II Seal of Excellence. The consortium has focused its efforts in presenting the methodology to different specific companies, overall presentation of the methodology and service to the priority clusters in the Basque Country and send generic information in a newsletter.

Regarding the service offered by the Basque Node related to “Enhancing Innovation Management Capacities”, in 2015 and 2016, there have been important deviations with respect to the proposal. So far, just 7 of the 10 planned SMEs (4 in the 2014 Pilot Project and 6 in the BASKAM 2015-2106 project) have taken part in the service. It is quite difficult for us to convince SMEs to take part in a process like this. The principal reason is that uring the last years, the Basque Government has been very active in the promotion of innovation culture in companies offering specific grants to those companies that were aiming to improve their innovation capacity, so most of the industrial companies have a specific innovation process already defined so they do not see the benefits of using this specific methodology. Anyhow, in the next period 2017-2018 we will have to increase our effort in contacting with companies presenting the process of the EEN programme “Services Enhancing the Innovation Management Capacity of SMEs”, and showing the benefits of taking part on it.
Some of the Basque KAMs with the NCP and one evaluator