Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Innovation assistance for small business

An EU team examined existing small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) training schemes with a view to improvement. They implemented and tested a newly devised programme in four countries, on which the team reported back to the EU with recommendations.
Innovation assistance for small business
European economic plans depend on innovative SMEs, yet frequently these businesses lack the skills to commercially implement research outcomes. One possible remedy may be to offer an SME coaching and mentoring scheme.

The EU-funded COMMERCIALISE (Coaching and mentoring of SMEs for research commercialisation and exploitation) project aimed to provide information to the European Commission regarding such an option. The purpose was to increase the commercialisation of research results, in accordance with Horizon 2020 goals.

Project work operated over two phases. First was the analysis of existing European coaching and mentoring programmes, including identification of the types of support available. Researchers then compiled a short list of 20 examples, from which 7 schemes were selected for detailed examination. Researchers developed a pilot programme, drawing from the best practices identified.

The second project phase constituted implementing the programme. Four countries each identified 15 SMEs participating in nationally or EU-funded research programmes. The team developed a process enabling selection of coaches in each country. Coaches were to deliver nine days of support to SMEs. The respective countries tested different approaches. Results formed the basis of eight recommendations about coaching schemes, delivered to the European Commission.

Themes of the recommendations included: clarification of offers to beneficiaries, selection of the best coaches, building of a coaching community and standard coaching approaches. Other points involved evolution of the scheme, tailoring interventions to SME needs, promotion of beneficiaries and feedback mechanisms.

COMMERCIALISE successfully reported to the European Commission about options for assisting SMEs in implementing research outcomes. Such take-up will help to realise Horizon 2020 economic goals.

Related information


SMEs, coaching and mentoring, research commercialisation, Horizon 2020
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