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H2020

AISS4SME Report Summary

Project ID: 674817
Funded under: H2020-EU.2.3.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AISS4SME (Advanced Innovation Service Support for SMEs)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Lack of innovation management capacity is recognised as an important barrier to creating economic impact from innovation activities in SME. Indeed, many SME focus their innovation strategy on R&D activities, delivering thus projects, rather than on impact driven activities and generation of economic growth.
To tackle this issue in SMEs, the AISS4SME project fully adheres to the necessity to support innovative SME in improving their innovation management capacity to become more efficient in filtering out ideas and translating the most promising projects into commercial success (including the projects funded under the SME instrument scheme of Horizon2020). This objective is in line with the strategy adopted by Luxinnovation, the National Agency for Innovation and Research in Luxembourg, partner of the Enterprise Europe Network consortium in Luxembourg.
The project AISS4SME has implemented the new services for innovation support within the national consortium LIEN Grande Europe established in Luxembourg. Partners involved in the AISS4SME have the necessary expertise to successfully implement this action :
• Proven record in innovation projects support (EEN);
• Excellent knowledge and experience in European programmes (FP7, Horizon2020). Luxinnovation is the official Luxembourg National Contact Point for Horizon 2020 including “SME and access to risk finance”, which is of upmost importance for the Key Account Management service for the beneficiaries of the SME Instrument;
• Experience in promoting and supporting SMEs in improving their performance;
• Deep knowledge of the Luxembourg innovative SMEs thanks to the active involvement in the national ecosystem (Luxembourg Cluster Initiative).

With the aim of increasing successful exploitation of innovation projects on the market, the goal of the AISS4SME project is twofold:
a) Identify bottlenecks in the creation of economic impact in companies benefitting from grants under Horizon2020's SME instrument and address these bottlenecks with the help of qualified coaches.
This service delivered to beneficiaries of the SME instrument in the context of a specific given project is called 'Key Account Management' - KAM.

b) Increase the efficiency and effectiveness of innovation processes in SMEs.
This service is delivered to small and medium sized enterprises that display significant innovation activities and high potential for internationalisation but do not have effective access to consulting services for innovation management. This service, provided independently from a specific innovation project and focusing on a company's innovation management system, is called 'Enhancing the innovation management capacity of SMEs’ - EIMC.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The project is divided into 2 work packages:
• WP1 - “Key account management” for the beneficiaries of the SME instrument
The aim of this work package is to ensure that SME Instrument beneficiaries receive the most appropriate services and support to enhance the probability of successful exploitation of the innovation project and to leave a footprint for the future sustainable growth of the beneficiary; it is also to help the SME identify and source appropriate lead coaches, facilitate linking the company to innovation support services and to support the lead coach. To manage and facilitate the SME coaching services in the SME instrument, Luxinnovation, partner of the LIEN Grande Europe consortium and of the AISS4SME project, has nominated a Key Account Managers (KAM) and defined its role in detail; the KAM’s task was to carry out innovation gap analyses before proposing appropriate coaches and to support and facilitate a successful coaching service throughout phases 1 & 2 of the SME Instrument. Over the 2 years period, the KAM has been delivered to 3 SME Instrument beneficiaries in Luxembourg, which had applied for a phase 1 project.

• WP2 - “Enhancing SME innovation management capacity” for innovating SME independently from a specific project
The aim of this work package is to identify promising SMEs capable of growth and successful internationalisation, to carry out a diagnosis of the SME and to offer a tailored action plan to improve the SME’s capacity to better manage innovation. Over the 2 years period, the EIMC has been delivered to 5 SME in Luxembourg.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

By pursuing the defined strategic objectives, the project produced the overall impact of:
• Enhancing the commercial potential and impact of SME participation in the dedicated Horizon 2020 instrument by ensuring that the project is aligned with and developed as an integral part of the company's innovation strategy,
• Achieving tangible organizational change and improved results,
• Improving the skill levels of managers, thereby bracing the SME for growth.

More precisely, the project has positively impacted the growth potential of 8 Luxembourgish SMEs by delivering KAM and EIMC services. The split between the two services is as follows: 3 SME Instrument beneficiaries benefitted from KAM services and 5 innovative SME benefitted from EIMC services. This results corresponds to 21% of the target set initially in the proposal and the resources committed corresponds to 520 hours of senior staff (24.4% of the planned hours).
The implementation strategy at consortium level was fully implemented and strong synergies between COSME activities have been established; indeed, the identification of potential client for EIMC services was the result of first contact with companies to present Enterprise Europe Network and its services. Despite all efforts put by the partner, the project faced some issues that explained the difference between foreseen target and achieved results.
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