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H2020

EISS Report Summary

Project ID: 680942
Funded under: H2020-EU.2.3.2.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EISS (EISS - Eco Innovation Support Services)

Reporting period: 2015-10-01 to 2017-03-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

"The overall objective of the EISS project was to collaboratively address a common innovation support challenge; namely to peer-review eco-innovation support programmes for SMEs in order to improve their environmental performance and energy efficiency as well as to transfer good practices into these programmes.

But to begin with, what is eco-innovation? According to the Eco-Innovation Observatory: ""Eco-innovation is the introduction of any new or significantly improved product (good or service), process, organisational change or marketing solution that reduces the use of natural resources (including materials, energy, water and land) and decreases the release of harmful substances across the whole life-cycle.""

The “eco-innovation support service for SMEs” theme has been identified by the project partners because -on the basis of their previous experiences working with SMEs-, it has a high potential for improvement at all involved partners’ territories (and in the whole Europe) in order to boost the local and international performance of SMEs and to support them to reach the EU 2020 goals. In the previous years, all three EISS partner agencies have been successfully participating in several national and international level EU funded projects, dealing with the elaboration of mid- and long-term strategies, specific policy recommendation papers concerning e.g. energy efficiency, green procurement, local actions on climate change impacts, biowaste in decentralized small-scale composting plants, funding schemes for innovation and sustainable development issues as well as designing and implementing regional level innovation support programmes for SMEs.

The basic EISS concept is to tackle the challenges that European SMEs face due to lack of their both technological (products and processes), and non-technological (organisational, marketing, institutional) eco-innovation capacities concerning environmental performance and energy efficiency.

The EISS consortium assumes that where eco-innovation support services exist, they tend to focus on cleantech or environmental technology companies. Moreover, these services are more frequently available on a national, rather than regional basis. Entrepreneurs’ eco-innovation capacities, both technological and non-technological, need to be developed because this will be a strong leverage towards Europe 2020 goals both in terms of sustainable development and competitiveness on the global market. Eco-innovation leads to reduced costs, improves the capacity to capture new growth opportunities and enhances brand reputation among customers.

Through the implementation of the EISS project and the tested pilot in its framework, great lessons were learned regarding eco-innovation and the significance of the provision of a self-assessment tool as the proposed 3EMT Tool has been more than proven. The specific tool is a useful weapon in two ways:
- First of all, it both during the EISS project pilot application in Greece and the previous application of it in Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Hungary and Czech Republic (while also widely available in English), SMEs reported that the tool is of great importance as it showed them their position (benchmark) regarding energy efficiency in comparison to local and EU level competitors and in comparison with the whole market.
- Secondly, the tool (and any similar initiative) could be of high added value to similar innovation agencies, public authorities which design support programmes and policymakers. The tool can provide stats and data regarding the need for designing a support action/programme, while also provides a well-established reasoning for the design of long-term strategies regarding the issue.

As so, EISS partners suggest other innovation agencies to adopt the action, as its transferability has been also proven, through its easy and low-cost replication in another country."

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

"
- Management: Set up of internal management system // Set up of internal rules // Set up of Internal Budget Agreement // Organization of regular web-meetings

- Desk research: Identification of potential stakeholders, networks // Good practices -programmes and projects // library of sources

- Peer review workshop: Call for experts // Interviews and selection of SMEs // Implementation of the 4-days peer-learning workshop in Thessaloniki among project partners
Work done during the workshop: Content of the report - Issues addressed:
Workshop goals
Peer learning process on eco-innovation support services
Introduction to the project and its goals
Experiences and designs of comparable pPartners’ innovation support programs
Exchange of good practices which exists in eco-innovation policy implementation within the partners’ experience
Content of the DOP for eco-innovation support services
Target groups for the eco-innovation support: manufacturing SMEs in a specific region
Framework conditions and organisations within which an initiative will work
The process of delivery of eco-innovation support initiative
Design: hHow should the initial design of the eco-innovation support service look like?
The actual delivery within the agency: activation
The actual delivery within the agency: selection of projects and contract management
Monitoring, evaluation and impact analysis: setting the right outcomes

- Study visit to Agritex

- Pilot action Greece: Translation of the 3EMT Questionnaire // Completion of the Questionnaire by 30 SMEs

- Memorandum of Understanding

- Dissemination: Final event Brussels at ERRIN// Publications: ""greenagenda.gr"", ""SKAI"", ""B2Green.gr"", ""epixeiro.gr"" // News on partners’ web sites // Contact with potential beneficiaries of the pilot through social media, emails, networks (chambers, sector representatives, etc) // Technical Chamber of Greece newsletter, Friuli Innovazione newsletter

Results achieved so far:
- project partners’ staff with increased management skills on eco-innovation support programmes
- Greek SMEs self-assessed their eco-energy performance
- 3EMT self-assessment approach extended to a new European region and, consequently, capitalization of the CEEM project
- increased awareness in regional stakeholders about the importance of eco-innovation
- mutual knowledge among the project partners in view of future collaborations
"

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)

Further than the already achieved goals and impact, it is significant to point out that there is a significant interest among Greek SMEs to enter the platform and access EISS services. As so, there will be a continuation of communication with SMEs for using the tool and the platform will be kept live. Last but not least, there have already been and there are more planned-to-come meetings with Regional Authorities for adopting the concepts suggested in programmes of the next programming period.

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