Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EEN Serbia SGA (EEN Serbia (specific grant agreement): Improving competitiveness of Serbian SMEs trough implementation of integrated services focused on innovative capacities, productivity and internationalization.)
Reporting period: 2016-01-01 to 2016-12-31
The action of this Project Proposal aims at stimulating innovation in SMEs by capacity building and has the following specific objectives to
1)Identify the capacity to receive the innovation support service in at least 16 high potential innovative SMEs and 2 beneficiaries of the SME instrument 2) Fill knowledge gaps in SMEs in the area of innovation 3) Bring knowledge of innovation processes and change processes 4) Build the capacity of SMEs to manage the innovation activity in-house 5)Build capacity of SME’s to use the wide range of innovation support services provided by the Network and especially SME instrument within H2020 which will help them grow. Serbian economy is low ranked in the Global Competitiveness Report (GCR). In last two years it kept the 94 position. Insufficient capacity to innovate is among ""the most problematic factor"" for doing business according to the opinion of Serbian top managers, published in the GCR. Innovation and sophistication factors, as 12th pillar of competitiveness contribute to the composite index of global competitiveness of Serbian economy, with the 10% only. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to continuously improve the innovativeness of the Serbian companies in order to improve their competitiveness and better integration in EU market."
The services provided resulted in the raised innovativeness and competitiveness of all involved companies while the SME instrument beneficiaries got the deeper insight in their specific EU market industry thanks to the coach support and one of them remarkably rised its profit. A few companies which received EIMC services, established new linkages with the relevant potential partners at the international market but also improved their innovation performances. Three companies who were EIMC service beneficiaries have been recognized as the potential SME instrument beneficiaries and the relevant assistance has been provided to them in this matter, as well.. All companies who were EIMC service beneficiaries have been signposted to different COSME activities and benefited from the Network services which helped them to grow and rise their productivity and profitability. For majority of them, technology/business profiles were made and one of them is in process of PA registration. Six companies benefited from the other Network services like technology audits/business reviews and technology reports while almost half othem asked for and received the IPR assistance. On the other hand, most of them attended local workshops in specific business development issues which rised their competitive advantage at the local market. In total, nine companies (half of the total number) have direct impact from the innovation support while the second half also benefited through development of their innovation capacities to go internationally and rise their performances at the national market.
Companies beneficiaries of innovation support became aware on their weaknesses in the innovation capacities and as the result of that, they overtake some measures to improve that which boost their growth opportunities and enabled the realization of their commercial potential. The access to international market, especially for the SME instrument beneficiaries has been remarkably improved. Six EIMC companies intending to go internationally, haven’t been familiar with the other EEN services before, so they were signposted to other Network activities. For six companies business/technology profiles were created and the advices on how to go internationally have been provided. All of them have been involved in the client’s database and all information from the Network such as brokerage events and similar, became available to them.
Although provided to the limited number of the SMEs, recruitment of the high innovative companies, raised the interest among other, also innovative companies for the EIMC and KAM services. Word of month, spread out by the satisfied clients- beneficiaries of the innovation support, attracted many good companies of the similar capacity to address to EEN partners for the innovation support but also for other EEN services, provided within the COSME Working Program. All involved companies clarified their plans to go internationally. Innovation support provided, helped them to specify the markets where they want to go, means and resources needed for the expansion. Half of them (nine –eight EIMC and one KAM service beneficiary) have already remarkable progress toward international markets. However, less than 10% companies engaged new employees so far, but their plans by the end of 2017. Include more new jobs created, based on the realization of their innovative projects, initiated as the result of the innovation support that they received.