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EES Innovation CSA

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EES Innovation CSA (EES Innovation CSA)

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

Europe2020, (and H2020), moves the innovation agenda towards tangible outcomes: towards the creation of new goods and services with concrete global market potential. The project’s underlying objective is to contribute to this agenda, encouraging smart growth in the EU by increasing effective investment in innovation linked to profitable exploitation international markets.

The project’s specific objective was (and is) to ensure that Scottish SMEs with international innovation and growth ambitions are empowered by unlocking their full growth potential through better internal innovation management capability. The project seeks to improve the innovation performance of Scottish SMEs, both for beneficiaries of the SME Instrument (through the Key Account Management service: KAM Service) and for the wider SME innovation base (through the innovation management capacity building service: IMC Service). Scotland’s SMEs innovation performance is below the EU average and in the bottom half of regions in the UK. A step change is needed to build the capacity of Scottish SMES to innovate successfully; to do so with international ambition at the heart; and which leaves them with a footprint for sustainable future growth. This requires not only a focused SME targeting strategy, but also qualified staff trained on appropriate tools and methodologies, delivering the right support to the right SMEs, coordinated with other delivery teams with the Enterprise Europe Network Scotland (EES) host organisations.
Work performed during the reporting period and main results achieved so far:

52 SMEs were mentored over the period: 12 SMEI beneficiaries completed coaching activities, and 40 Action Plans were delivered as a result of the Innovation Management Capacity activities.

Key Account Management (KAM) work:

In 2015-2016, Enterprise Europe Network Scotland mentored 19 SMEI beneficiaries (KAM/coaching support): 13 Phase I and 6 Phase II projects. These 19 mentored beneficiaries, have been supported by 23 separate coaching activities over the period. 12 coaching plans were completed, and seven coaching activities are still in process of delivery at the end of 2016.

Innovation Management Capacity (IMC) work:

In 2015-2016, 45 facilitated Improve assessments were undertaken by EEN Scotland: 25 of the resulting Action Plans have been completed, with 20 still under delivery.

In addition, two Innovation Management Master Classes (composed of a series of intensive workshops) were held, one in 2015 and the second in 2016: the workshops for each of the innovation Master Classes spanned a spectrum of innovation management areas and ran over a period of four to six months. A total of 27 SMEs participated. These Master Classes resulted in 27 innovation action plans being developed, 15 of which have been completed and 12 are still underway by end December 2016.
Impact: 91 SMEs have been supported over the period: 21 SMEI beneficiaries and 72 for IMC.

• €21 million has been brought in to the companies in terms of funding and investment
• €20 to € 30 million new turnover is forecast from their new innovation projects

All Scottish SMEI beneficiaries have been supported through COSME (EEN “Phase III” services), as well as being linked into the full range of support available regionally and nationally. The EEN Scotland team has all worked closely with all the implicated coaches, introducing them to the host structures’ company account managers and teams. IMC and SoE clients have been offered business innovation coaching as part of the service package. Holistic all round support (EEN and wider innovation ecosystem) has been made available to all our SMEI and IMC clients.

Pipeline and capacity building
The approach of EEN Scotland has been to focus not simply on delivering coaching services to SMEI winners: but on actively building the pipeline and mentoring potential strong SMEI applicants. Potential applicants were filtered from IMC clients, winners of national/regional innovation project challenges and host structures’ clients with measurable innovation, international and growth ambition/potential.

Resources were dedicated (under COSME) in preparing them for possible submission to the SMEI programme (focussing on impact, connections to markets and customers, validation of innovation, Return on Investment , investor readiness etc). The EEN team mentored and supported the highest potential projects and SMEs by appraising their innovation projects, building capacity (international and innovation) and helping to develop and critically review their bids prior to submission. This pipeline, capacity building and project development has been supported through the COSME SGA, and closely linked to the Innovation Management capacity activities.

As can be seen below, this approach and close tie-in with the COSME activities paid dividends, resulting in markedly higher success rates than those of the SMEI programme overall:

• 86% of the total funded Scottish SMEI Phase II beneficiaries were mentored by EEN Scotland prior to submission.
• 70% of the total funded SMEI Scottish proposals were mentored by EEN Scotland prior to submission.
• 66% of total Scottish SMEI applications over the funding threshold, were mentored by EEN Scotland prior to submission.
• 64% of Scottish SMEs receiving a Seal of Excellence (SoE) were mentored by EEN Scotland prior to submission.

The project and associated service packages services have provided a catalyst for EEN Scotland to further integrate into the regional/national support ecosystem and host structure provision, and to define a more centred, holistic approach to serving our clients. The additionality and value add of EEN Scotland have been brought into sharp focus, allowing us to define a highly tailored service across our client base (H2020 and COSME) supporting our SMEs’ innovation, international and growth ambitions.