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EEN Armenia H2020: EEN Armenia assists SMEs involved in Horizon 2020

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EEN Armenia H2020 (EEN Armenia H2020: EEN Armenia assists SMEs involved in Horizon 2020)

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

The overall objective of the EEN Horizon 2020 project was the establishment of innovation enhancement services for selected research-driven Armenian SMEs with real potential for international growth.

The project aimed at making the innovation system of the selected local companies more efficient and effective by enhancing their innovation management capacity and innovation processes through EIMC services using tools designed to measure and analyze the innovation management capacity of the companies.
This objective was achieved through successfully delivered 7-days service packages to the identified innovative SMEs thus enhancing their innovation management capacities.
The comprehensive assessment of the innovation management potential was performed using the Zenit tool developed by EEN German partners, which provided transparency on the companies’ innovation management performances. The SMEs received direct consulting, targeted and tailored support to facilitate the process of creation and commercialization of innovations, entering new markets and improvement of the innovation management capacities.

The EEN Horizon 2020 project also aimed at facilitating the acceleration of the impact of the support provided through the H2020 SME Instrument by providing KAM services and to equip the beneficiaries with necessary skills, business processes and relevant competencies for growth, as well as for the commercial success of their projects, by ensuring the SMEs to have access to coaching services.
Due to the fact that Armenian SMEs became eligible to apply for SME Instrument only with signature of the Association Agreement to EU H2020 programme, which came into force on 12 November of 2016, there were no SME Instrument applicants in 2016. Consequently KAM services were not delivered due to the absence of SME Instrument beneficiaries.
EEN Horizon 2020 project delivered 7-day innovation service packages to the SMEs selected as a result of mapping exercise preformed by the working group of assigned innovation experts. The most promising SMEs were selected for EIMC services based on the analysis and evaluation of their innovation projects, growth perspectives, and their capacity to innovate.
The working group of assigned experts preformed comprehensive assessment of strengths, gaps and needs of the innovation management potential and capacities of the SMEs using the Zenit tool. The tool generated reports showing the companies' innovation performance highlighting the strengths and weakness of their innovation capacity based on which the needs and gaps analysis were preformed and further on tailored action plans were developed. Each action plan was jointly implemented with the SMEs.
All the selected SMEs received direct consultancy on the rules of participation in H2020, SME Instrument in particular, partner search, services offered by EEN and received access to other EU projects and initiatives.
Using synergies with other EU projects like FP7 IncoNet EaP, FP7 ener2i, FP7 INNOVER- EAST, the working group has facilitated the participation of representatives of some of the SMEs in Brokerage Events organized by EEN, twining and site visits, winter schools organized in the framework of the abovementioned projects.
The lack of knowledge, skills or ability to manage innovation processes is an issue for Armenian SMEs. The innovation support services brought an added-value to the standard services of the Enterprise Europe Network in Armenia ensuring synergy with the business, technology transfer and R&D services.
The beneficiaries of the EIMC package services received important assistance, consulting services and practical information in order to notably improve their innovation management systems, and thus their vision, methods and resources for turning an idea to innovation result and commercialize it, improve their leadership, management skills, ability to valorise employees’ creativity and innovation, ability to cooperate with third partners and R&D partners, clients, suppliers, to communicate innovation