There appears to be a growing need for the development of new industrial value chains across the EU. The aim is to start building on the potential that SMEs have to become important stakeholders in innovation. As always the EU supports this need by enhancing the development of emerging industries that will, in turn, provide financial growth and employment in the future.
This can be achieved by the promotion of the development of industrial value chains aiming at the collaboration and integration of all the different innovative actors such as large enterprises, and of course, SMEs from different sectors. This is a joint vision that requires a lot of effort and a lot of patience. It is, however, the kind of vision that can bring faster and stronger financial growth for European society.
SMEs need help to generate, take up and better capitalize on all forms of knowledge, creativity, craftsmanship, and innovation – including for the application of existing crosscutting or emerging technologies, advanced manufacturing, ICT, eco-innovative and resource-efficient solutions, new business models, service innovation and design. The potential of clusters – that represent favorable ecosystems for innovation and entrepreneurship – need to be better exploited in this respect.
Under this premise, the third AI Innovation action, with a double-stage model, “For a better innovation support to SMEs” is aiming to promote these cross-border and cross-sectoral collaborations.
To this end, proposals shall outline a strategic vision for building new industrial value chains across the EU Member States and Associated Countries. They shall specifically focus on integrating and supporting groups of SMEs in collaboration with other innovation actors in addressing specific problems and challenges. Cluster organizations or other SME intermediaries shall be invited to set up collaboration and networking activities for SMEs and create a favorable “open space” for cross-sectoral fertilization and value chain innovation to take place. Each proposal should demonstrate the capacity to:
- validate ideas for structured innovation projects driven by SMEs from different sectors and countries in collaboration with other innovation actors and facilitate the coordination towards new industrial value chains through this collaboration space.
- support innovation activities and/or channel a mix of different targeted entrepreneurial and innovation support measures (such as mentoring, coaching, innovation and technical assistance vouchers, etc.) directly to the innovation actors of the validated innovation projects to further support their development, integration and large-scale demonstration in a strategic manner. At least 75% of the total proposed budget shall be allocated to support innovation in SMEs directly, whereby the SMEs benefit by either participating in the consortium or by receiving financial and/or other support as a third party (enterprise) in line with the conditions set out in General Annex K of the work programme.
What is the expected impact of the proposals under this call?
The expected impact is to:
- Strengthen industrial leadership in the EU Member States and Associated Countries by reinforcing value chains that integrate innovative solutions in SMEs, along with and across existing value chains.
- Stimulate the creation of new globally competitive industrial value chains across the EU Member States and Associated Countries to accelerate the development of emerging industries, which will boost industrial competitiveness and underpin future economic growth, jobs, and progress towards a resource-efficient economy.
- Further leverage and complement support for innovation in SMEs and other funding, which may be provided by national or regional authorities (including under the European Structural and Investment Funds) and/or by private investors (upfront or as follow-up investments), including in relation to the European Fund for Strategic Investments.
- Contribute to the implementation of regional and national research and innovation strategies for smart specialization strategies (RIS3), modern cluster policies as well as of strategic inter-regional collaboration under thematic Smart Specialisation Platforms and cluster partnerships supported by the European Cluster Collaboration Platform and the European Observatory for Clusters and Industrial Change by capitalizing upon concentrated and complementary competences for the development of new industrial value chains and emerging industries with a clear EU added-value.
- Provide a clear and measurable contribution to the innovation performance of the supported SMEs in the short-term – as revealed by indicators such as numbers of new or significantly improved products (goods and/or services), processes, new marketing methods, or new organizational methods -, and to its impact on resource efficiency and/or turnover. A wider impact is also expected in the medium-term.
- Improve the business environment of the supported SMEs by establishing open collaboration spaces that can involve innovation actors from different sectors and countries. This will lead to the creation of new ideas for innovation and new collaboration partnerships, which will be subject to further development and with the potential for further impact on business turnover.
IED, as the leading expert in entrepreneurship, is an excellent partner to take part in a consortium submitting a proposal under this call. We have implemented a massive amount of projects conserving entrepreneurship and we are fast-growing partners under Horizon 2020. Are you interested in adding us to your consortium? Contact us today and let us discuss further about a potential collaboration.