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Improving support services to foster SMEs’ participation to PCP and PPI

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - innoPROCUR (Improving support services to foster SMEs’ participation to PCP and PPI)

Reporting period: 2017-04-01 to 2018-03-31

The overall project objective was to collaboratively address a common innovation support challenge, namely to facilitate and foster the participation of innovative SMEs in PCP - Pre Commercial Procurement (which steers the development of solutions towards concrete public sector needs, whilst comparing/validating alternative solution approaches from various vendors) and PPI - Public Procurement of Innovation (aimed at acting as launching customer / early adopter / first buyer of innovative commercial end-solutions newly arriving on the market).
The target group is represented by innovative SMEs, which can be the suppliers of innovative goods and services, and benefit by participating to PCP and PPI gaining new business opportunities and resources for the development of innovation and boosting their competitiveness on the market.
However, they have no specific and effective support services increasing their awareness about these opportunities, informing and supporting them in the PCP/PPI procedures.
Support services facilitating SMEs in participating to PCP/PPI can help firms with easier access to private third-party funding and to bridge the pre-commercialization gap for their innovative products and services (i.e. first sales of technology).
TASK 1 - MANAGEMENT: The kick-off web meeting has been organized on 19th April 2017; other web meetings has been organized during the project in preparation to the main tasks (e.g. peer-learning workshops, DOP).
TASK 2 - PEER LEARNING: two workshops (duration: 2 days each) have been organized; the 1st in The Hague (11-12th July 2017) and the 2nd in Udine (30th November-1st December 2017). The peer learning activity was supported by an external moderator, subcontracted by FINN to govern the peer review process. Some PCP/PPI experts were involved by PIANOo to bring their skills and experiences.
TASK 3 – END USERS’ INVOLVEMENT: partners organized 3 workshops in their region involving SMEs to increase their awareness on PCP/PPI and inform them about how to exploit PCP/PPI opportunities. The partners monitored the SMEs approach to PCP/PPI, gathering their feedbacks about knowledge, needs, problems, etc. The positive and negative aspects have been analyzed by the partners and used to draw up the final version of DOP.
TASK 4 - DESIGN OPTIONS PAPER PREPARATION: based on outcomes and results of Task 2 and Task 3, the Design Options Paper has been prepared in collaboration among the partners.
TASK 5 - DISSEMINATION AND EXPLOITATION ACTIVITIES: the tools and the contents of the dissemination actions have been defined, translated into national languages and used during the project. Each partner has organized a local/national roundtable/workshop to present the project's results to SMEs, relevant stakeholders, policy makers in each territory. Moreover, the partners have signed a MoU defining the possibility to collaborate in the future about PCP/PPI support services to SMEs.
TASK 6 - COMMUNICATION ACTIVITIES: articles, press releases, news were prepared and disseminated by the partners through their web sites, social media (e.s. Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter) and e-newsletters.
Thanks to the project implementation:
- partners’ staff participated in peer learning activities, significantly improving their knowledge as well as their capacity in supporting SMEs;
- partner's stakeholders were involved in the project activities and informed about PCP/PPI's opportunities;
- innovative SMEs were informed about PCP/PPI opportunities, increasing their awareness, knowledge and skills;
- the partners knew better each other, paving the way to future possible collaborations.