A lack of innovation management capacity represents an important barrier to creating economic impact from innovation activities in SMEs. The H2020 Work Programme “Innovation in SMEs” foresees support services via the Enterprise Europe Network dealing with this issue. The Austrian consortium will support SMEs in addressing factors hindering successful innovation cycles. Activities will aim at (1) providing substantial consulting and support services in the form of Key Account Management (KAM) to beneficiaries of the SME instrument, Fast Track to Innovation and FET Open and at (2) enhancing the innovation management capacity (EIMC) of SMEs. Services will be provided in close cooperation and coordination with the National Contact Points and regional and national stakeholders. KAM and EIMC services will be carried out by experienced innovation experts that are all also involved in/closely connected to the provision of EEN services. This guarantees a seamless support via the services provided under H2020 and COSME, using synergies but avoiding the duplication of services. (1) Within the frame of the Key Account Management, partners will conduct company assessments, identify weaknesses in the SMEs’ innovation strategies and subsequently help SMEs to assign professional coaches. Coaches and SMEs will then develop a coaching plan and address these weaknesses. The process will be facilitated and accompanied by the EEN expert. Further support (e.g. the link to additional financial resources) will be provided and so the SME receives a vital service throughout the project. (2) EEN experts will also directly support a selected number of SMEs in improving their innovation management. This will be achieved through targeted innovation management consulting. SMEs in need of this specific type of consulting will be reached which show a high potential for successful market introduction of innovations and international growth.
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