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StartInnShop - Startup Innovation goes to market

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - StartInnShop (StartInnShop - Startup Innovation goes to market)

Reporting period: 2016-08-01 to 2017-07-31

Access to market is a crucial aspect for startup company launch and development. New companies have extreme difficulties in marketing their products for several reasons. Startups often lack of sales competences, have limited resources for communication and sales force and are missing key information on how to implement a sound market strategy.

Startups are key organizations for the development and spread of innovation. Their products usually present innovative features and respond to uncovered market needs. This is the reason way in many cases, startups can access international markets since their very early stages.
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Support in terms of product development, marketing and identification of suitable distribution channels is a key service to be offered to startups in an integrated manner through the collaboration of various innovation support organizations. Innovation agences are uniquely positioned to help both local startups in developing national markets and are key partners for foreign startups interested in entering international markets. Those organizations may represent ideal gate openers towards regional ecosystems both for local startups launching new products and also for foreign companies.

Innovation Agencies can fruitfully collaborate and share knowledge and contacts across the innovation community, providing the potential to enhance support for start-ups to reach new markets, whilst also identifying best practices to be diffused and aspects to be further developed in existing support programmes.

The objective of the StartInnShop project is to facilitate this peer-learning between innovation agencies and identify new services and routines to enable these organizations support new companies access markets.
StartInnShop is a peer learning project between Innovation Agencies under H2020 INNOSUP 5 implemented by three different organizations supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in their regions: ASTER (Emilia-Romagna, Italy), Laval Mayenne Technopole (Mayenne, France) and Rubicon Center (Cork, Ireland).
After the identification of existing best practices, peer learning sessions and study visits have enabled knowledge exchanges with the aim to improve routines and services available in partner organizations and also to co-create a new service for helping startups access contacts and market opportunities abroad. This new service is conceived as a modular service pack including a dedicated support with access to opportunities already offered by the project partners. It has been tested on a series of companies and is the core aspect of the project deliverable Design Options Paper (DOP).
The DOP that has been produced to share peer-learning outputs with other organizations supporting innovation and entrepreneurship demonstrates how innovation agencies can share knowledge and collaborate to develop new services for startups with a practical and focused approach. It demonstrates how start-ups can be supported in developing products with market potentials and how startups can be supported business contacts abroad through interaction with innovation agencies acting as gate openers both for their local startups and for startups coming from other regions.
Peer learning sessions, study visits and benchmarking activities have enabled to identify the state of the art regarding services dedicated to startup support in developing marketable products and accessing new markets. These actions have enabled to identify areas to improve in existing support offer and also to define a new service package combining existing experiences and a new approach.

This new service has proved of interest for startups: an important number of those have accessed the service and in some cases the companies have effectively made their first sales abroad.

Some improvement aspects have been identified for the development of the services at regional levels: market access day seminars may be organized for startups to demonstrate their products, coaching for international startups shall be included in the innovation agencies/incubators services even in limited terms (remote coaching for instance), these services may be offered to startups after the ideation phases as a new added value opportunity.

Project outputs have been diffused among other organizations supporting innovation and entrepreneurship with the objective to diffuse the service in other regions.
Interest from end users and potential inclusion of other organization in the service implementation highlight the potential impact of the outcomes of this project with further impact achievable through the implementation of the recommendations for
further dissemination.
picture during the study visit in Cork
picture during project meeting in Bologna
cover of the StartInnShop service brochure