Crisis Costs for European SMEs: The EESC Study

Date: 20 September 2023 | 2:00 PM - CEST

Speakers Francesco Camonita and Carina Dantas (CEO of SHINE 2Europe), discussed the insights from the study: “Crisis Costs for Europeans SMEs” carried out on behalf of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), developed by Wise Angle and SHINE 2Europe with INSME’s support.
The COVID-19 pandemic has become the landmark for one of the greatest economic shocks ever experienced. As such, many SMEs were exposed to financial and employment-related losses, especially in the retail and tourism sector. In the light of this, the EESC study analysed six SMEs challenges that will be presented and thoroughly discussed as well as recommendations for future policymakers. 

Relator: Dr. Francesco Camonita

Wise Angle

Dr. Francesco Camonita is a researcher and project Manager at Wise Angle Consulting, Barcelona. He holds a Ph.D. in Geography (European Studies), an MA in European Integration (both from the Autonomous University of Barcelona) and a BA in International Relations with Spanish (Swansea University, UK). Francesco holds 9+ years of working experience as a university researcher, lecturer and research support specialist. He is still a regularly invited lecturer for the Departments of Geography, Political Science and the Faculty of Law at UAB. At Wise Angle, he coordinates research activities for service contracts while performing management functions for multiple R&D projects.

Facilitating SMEs business transfers : lessons learnt and best practices from Reempresa

Date: 25/01/23 from 03:00 PM to 4:00 PM | - CET

On January 25th at 3 PM CEST an insightful discussion with Reempresa, the business transfer Marketplace for SMEs in Catalonia took place. 

Reempresa is the business transfer Marketplace for SMEs with a new model of entrepreneurship and business growth: a professional tool through which one or more buyers has access to owners of operating companies, to foster their grow without having to go through the creation process.

The webinar presented a marketplace within which business activities are sold and purchased as a one-stop shop system. Through this webinar, we wanted to showcase a Marketplace for SMEs, where potential buyers and business owners are given the knowledge on how to transfer their business.

Relator: Carla Jambrina


Carla Jambrina graduates in Economics from the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. After her studies spent 3 years in Greece working for humanitarian projects. Then, she returned to Barcelona and became a consultant in business transfer and business valuation expert. Nowadays, she is the coordinator of the “Centre de Reempresa de Catalunya”.

The Digitalisation of Manufacturing: Challenges and Opportunities for SMEs

Date: 13/06/22 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM | - CEST

On June 13th at 2 PM CEST took place in an insightful discussion with Innovate UK KTN, the networking partner of the UK’s Innovation Funding Agency.

The session aimed to provide an insightful discussion on how the adoption of new digital technologies has the power to transform SMEs’ businesses, discussing how SMEs could benefit from the 4Manufacturing toolkit.

4Manufacturing® has been developed and tested by Innovate UK KTN for over five years with hundreds of manufacturing businesses starting out on their digitalisation journeys. They have benefitted from the systematic and clear approach that 4Manufacturing provides to help SMEs prioritise technologies and enable them to deal with key challenges and opportunities.


How the Made Smarter Network drives UK manufacturing innovation:

  • The UK manufacturing landscape
  • UK government innovation strategy
  • Made Smarter Innovation programmes and funding
  • Made Smarter Adoption support for SME digitalisation

How the 4Manufacturing toolkit enables digital acceleration:

  • For manufacturers: Prioritising specific investment in digital tech and skills
  • For advisers: Picturing key aspects of manufacturing processes and relevant technologies
  • For programmes: Providing evidence for future programme design
Innovate UK KTN and Innovate UK are delivering an EU funded project called RCT4MANU (“Test an innovative support scheme for manufacturing SMEs and accelerate the use of Randomised Control Trials (RCTs) in innovation agencies”). As part of this project, we are engaging with UK and EU Innovation and Development Agencies and offer training to use 4Manufacturing® in their business support programmes and build a pan-European network of like-minded business support organisations. The RCT4MANU project is also building experience in the use of RCTs to measure the impact of business support programmes in terms of increased productivity, resilience and sustainability from digitalisation. 

The RCT4MANU Project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 824219.

Relator: Steven Barr and Nicole Ballantyne

Innovate UK KTN

Nicole Ballantyne makes targeted links within the manufacturing sector to the right knowledge, partners, technology solution providers, research & academia, facilities, grants and funding with a view to driving productivity, efficiency and economic growth. Nicole leads on Innovate UK KTN’s support of the “Manufacturing Made Smarter” part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Her ambition is to grow a vibrant cohesive community of industrial digital technology providers, developers and users across industry and technology sectors. She supports manufacturers to embrace digital technology innovation to grow their business, and technology developers to innovate the best solutions for the manufacturing industry. As a Chartered Mechanical Engineer with 3 decades of industry experience (from TPM, WCM, SPC to ERP to NPD), Nicole has been involved in a variety of innovation support roles across many sectors (FMCG, O&G, Energy, Water, OEM). She has an eclectic and diverse network of contacts to draw upon. Steven Barr is a chartered engineer with over 35 years of experience of designing, making and the agile implementation of high-tech products and services in manufacturing and the built environment. Before joining Innovate UK KTN, Steven was National Director at the UK’s Manufacturing Advisory Service and founder of EDGE Digital Manufacturing to inspire Digital Breakthrough through cross-business collaboration on technical, organisational, financial and personal challenges and opportunities. Steven is a member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Manufacturing Policy Panel, and a board member of the not-for-profit Digital Readiness Level cross-industry consortium. He is the lead technical author of British Standard PAS 1040 on Digital Readiness, a guide to adopting digital tech.

Social Commerce and Distribution Channels in China

Date: 24/05/22 from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM | - CEST

On May 24th at 3pm CEST took part in an insightful discussion with Value China.

This webinar is going offered a deep dive into the evolution of distribution channels in China, with a focus on FMCG. In particular, it will explain the main aspects to take into consideration while planning an omnichannel distribution strategy in China, sharing insights for selling international products with China.

China is a very attractive destination market for international companies, as shown by the fact that in 2021, China was the largest partner for EU imports of goods (22.4 %). To enter such a huge and competitive market, it is fundamental to have a deep understanding of the peculiarities of this market and establish a clear distribution and promotion strategy.


  1. Introduction and market overview
  2. Traditional import and retail channels
  3. E-commerce platforms
  4. Social Commerce
  5. Case Study: selling on Xiaohongsh

Relator: Vincenza Caputo

Value China

Vincenza Caputo graduated in International Relations with Asia from the University of Naples “L’Orientale” and during her studies she spent two years in China thanks to CSC scholarship, improving tremendously her Chinese level and achieving HSK6. Following her academic studies, Vincenza specialized in International Business, gaining a professional master’s degree in Export Management from the Italian Trade Agency. For the past years, she has been living and working in Hangzhou, for a Chinese-Italian JV importing Italian F&B to China. She is now a China’s F&B market expert, specialized in market entry strategies and import procedures for Italian F&B products. From January 2022, she is in charge of project development for Value China, a Sino-Italian consulting, digital marketing and technology agency for the Chinese market, part of the Neosperience S.p.a company (NSP.MI), leading player in Digital Customer Experience.

Corporate Venturing in Russia

Date: 28/09/21 from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM | - CEST

On September 28th at 3pm CEST took part in an insightful discussion with Generation S Corporate Accelerator.

The session aimed to provide an insightful discussion on “Corporate Venturing in Russia”, starting from an overview of the Russian business ecosystem, and delving into the role corporate plays in innovation development and promotion.

As Open Innovation is now an effective framework for the mobilisation of start-ups, the session will also be analysing the effectiveness and impact of such programmes on the economic development of the region. Furthermore, it will be discussing corporate intrapreneurship tools and methodologies targeted at building entrepreneurial culture.

Relator: Irina Martynova and Aleksandra Sukhareva

Generation S

Irina Martynova launched digital products and programs for top-international banks (Raiffeisnebank, Societe Generale) and FMCG (Procter & Gamble). Irina is an experienced professional with more than five years of experience in launching corporate innovation programs for various industry leaders with top results based on pilots and commercial partnerships received, including such companies as VTB, ALROSA, ILIM etc. As the Head of Corporate Direction of GenerationS, Irina is on a team that has achieved the designation of Best Corporate Accelerator in Europe as awarded by the Corporate Startup Summit in 2018. Irina holds a master’s degree from Financial University in Russia (KPMG program) and several diplomas from Harvard Extension School on strategy and innovation. Aleksandra Sukhareva is the TechLab Lead at PepsiCo Russia. Since June 2019, Aleksandra has been responsible for development technological innovation and working with startups in PepsiCo Russia. Aleksandra has 14 years of experience in FMCG, 7 of which are at PepsiCo. Having gained experience in digital and product marketing of large European companies, Aleksandra joined PepsiCo in 2014 and took up the trend marketing of beverage and juice categories on the AFH channel, after which she moved to innovation management. Aleksandra graduated with honors from the Finance Academy under the Government of the Russian Federation with a degree in Finance and Credit. She also completed the program “Innovation in the Age of Disruption” at the INSEAD Business School.

The Role of Accelerators in the Chinese Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Date: 14/06/21 from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM | - CEST

On June 14th at 3pm CEST took part in an insightful discussion with China’s largest accelaration platform: TOJOY

The session, organised in collaboration with TOJOY, aimed to provide an insightful discussion on “The Role of Accelerators in the Chinese Entrepreneurial Ecosystem”. Interestingly, China was the only world power to register growth during the pandemic. With TOJOY, we discussed China’s post-COVID recovery and its latest trends, focusing on the 14th 5-year plan through which it aimed to become an innovation powerhouse and to boost technological and economic development. In particular, we will focus on the Greater Bay Area, which is considered the heart of Chinese innovation and as one of the most technologically and economic advanced regions on the planet.

TOJOY will also illustrate its business model and approach to incubation, comparing the Chinese start-up incubation and acceleration ecosystems with the Europe’s, and offer advice for international start-ups and early-stage companies looking to enter China.

Relator: Richard Burton and Scott Douglas Williams


A Franco-British national living in Paris, Richard has had a varied career in defence electronics, cable TV, computing, information services, stock exchanges, trade credit and political risk insurance. From 1999 to 2015 he was based in Hong Kong leading the Asian regional development for Coface. From 2016 to 2019 he set up and ran his own advisory business to help young technology related companies with their development and to raise funds and was also active in M&A between Europe and China as Senior Advisor in a boutique advisory firm in Hong Kong. Richard joined TOJOY Western Europe as CEO for EMEA West in September 2019 to develop the activities in this region. TOJOY is China’s largest business acceleration platform with at its core a network of over 700,000 investors and entrepreneurs. Richard is an active Angel Investor and board advisor with interests in fintech, video games, video clip apps and electric vehicle recharging stations amongst others. Richard is a former Chairman of the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Hong Kong and of the European Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong. He is Vice-president of the France-Hong Kong Business Association, based in Paris. He is married with three children and in his spare time enjoys long distance trail running. Scott is resident of Greater China and North Asia for the past 25 years primarily in Japan and China. He is the senior director working on global development growth for TOJOY Capital Holdings and is based in Shanghai, China. He is also the founder of the US-China Investment Committee. Scott is a prior senior executive with FedEx, DHL, and Nokia and prior vice president at the prestigious American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai. He was also the turnaround executive of late iconic pop legend Stan Lee’s POW (Purveyors of Wonder) Entertainment studio and his archives while based in Beverly Hills. Scott has a graduate degree from the Thunderbird American Graduate School graduate master program of international business and has a finance degree from the University of Oregon.

The Management of IPRs in Tech Transfer

Date: 8/06/21 from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM | - CEST

Innovation is generally understood as the process of bringing valuable new products (and services) to market, and has been highlighted as one of the key factors that determines the future success of an organisation.

Intellectual property (IP), and the management of the IP throughout the new product development process is a critical factor in successfully commercialising products and services.

Click here to register.

The purpose of this webinar is to briefly outline what forms of IP protection may be required at each stage of the product development process, and how overall management of the IP may lead to overall improved revenues and profitability.

Relator: Maria Coro PLA Gutierrez and Sebastian Hanck

EUIPO - The European Union Intellectual Property Office

Maria Coro PLA Gutierrez, IP Expert in the Customer Department, EUIPO, has been working in the world of Intellectual Property for more than 30 years. She started as a patent examiner (mechanical specialty) at the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office (OEPM), specifically in the Technological Information Department where, in addition to making patent reports, she collaborated in the creation of several Technology Watch Bulletins. In 2013 she joined the Management Support Unit of the OEPM and was in charge of the SME Support Service for 6 years. In 2019 she was assigned to the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) as Seconded National Exper. Since then, she has been working in the Customer Department, working mainly in the SME Program of this office. Sebastian Hanck, Team Leader, Supportive Instrument in the Customer Department, EUIPO, Belgian, joined the EUIPO in 1997, worked in the Operations Department as trademarks examiner and then as Head of examination sector for 15 years. He then joined the Customer department where he was in charge of managing the Key User Programme (EUIPO key account programme for big customers) and now, since January 2021, leads the team SME supportive initiatives which includes the SME Fund and others.

Transforming Emerging Markets through Entrepreneurship

Date: | 30/3/21 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM - CEST

The session is designed to explore Nigeria’s unfolding entrepreneurial ecosystem, the role of innovation in shaping policy making as well as public/private participation in entrepreneurship and a look into what lies ahead for Africa’s biggest economy. Innovation, driven by changing consumer preferences, technology and globalization is re-inventing the way we create, add and capture value in enterprises around the world. The emerging markets have not been left out in this rapid transformation. Nigeria – the Giant of Africa, leveraging her combined strengths of deep mobile & internet penetration, a high youth population with a penchant resilience for success and a 200 million people immediate market potential, has become a leading hub for investment within the continent.

Consider transforming cultural heritages into global marketplaces, birthing 3 unicorns and attracting over $700million in VC funding (2019), the adoption of technological advances in addition to institutional agility has morphed a mono-product economy into the global brand “Niaja” impacting virtually all industrial sectors.

Relator: Anita Umoh Amorighoye and Stella Nnedinma Ayika

Ayzer, Centre for Entrepreneurship, Nigeria

Anita Umoh Amorighoye is the Co-founder and Chief Executive Ayzer Center for Entrepreneurship, Nigeria. An Enterprise Development institute that focuses on early-stage start-ups, Ayzer provides capacity, mentorship, access to finance and linkages to support business development. Anita comes with an extensive background in Banking, having developed commercial relationships and structured people programs through public- private partnerships. Anita holds an MBA (Chartered Banking) and a Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Stella Nnedinma Ayika teaches, mentors, and inspires young people to choose the world of entrepreneurship through project-based activities of starting their own businesses. she supports SMEs through joint training and research. Stella has gained experience from collaborative work in establishing innovation hubs in TVET institutions 2019 and the African Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production since 2011. Value is created in education when teachers continuously hone their skills, practice what they teach and constantly research. Stella holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Technology, postgraduate diploma in education and Master of Science in Business administration (entrepreneurship option). While engaging over 900 learners yearly, Stella is passionate about harnessing a system that drives learners, SMEs and the society to understand gaps and create sustainable solutions.

E.U. policies for SMEs

Date: July, 14, 2020 | From 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. - CEST

The session is designed to give participants understanding of the utmost relevance of Research and Innovation (R&I) in the economic growth strategy of economies, discuss R&I performance of the European Union (EU) in the global context and shed light on the key EU legislation and new programs to boost economic growth in Europe (including post-Covid 19 measures), based on two pillars – green transition and digital transformation. Specific focus will be given on the main pillars of Horizon Europe (2021-2027), which is the EU framework program for research and innovation, as well as the new venture capital investment instrument – European Innovation Council, which looks for promising start-ups and innovative SMEs in Europe.

Read the insights here.

Relator: Dr. Evgeni Evgeniev

Research Attaché, Permanent Representation of Bulgaria to the European Union

Dr. Evgeni Evgeniev is the Research Attaché at the Permanent Representation of Bulgaria to the European Union. Since September 2018, he has been representing the research and innovation sector of Bulgaria in Brussels from where he operates. He is the key negotiator for Horizon Europe, which is the new Framework Program for Research and Innovation (R&I), covering the period 2021-2027, estimated at EUR 105 B., and other key legislative files that drive the R&I policy in Europe. Before his current diplomatic assignment, he advised the Minister of Education and Science of Bulgaria on research policy for two years, and he also served for three years as Vice-Rector for European Projects and Further Development at one of the top universities in Bulgaria, where he also led courses as Associate Professor in Finance. In fact, he has been teaching and doing research in Budapest, Florence, Istanbul, Parma, Seoul and Sofia. Between 2003 and 2019, he supervised over 200 master theses of his students and 3 PhD dissertations. Dr. Evgeniev is a graduate of Central European University in Budapest (PhD and MA in Public Policy/Political Economy), and Varna University of Economics (BSc in Economics and MA in International Tourism). He has an Advanced Diploma in European Studies from European College of Parma (10-months specialization).

Innovation policies for SMEs in the U.S.

Date: July, 9, 2020 | From 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. - CEST

This session is designed to give participants exposure to and an outline of various innovation policies and programs in the United States. The first part of the session will describe two of the U.S. government’s key innovation programs: the Small Business Innovation Research and the Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) programs, which provides R&D funding for SMEs, and the Small Business Administration’s Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program, a fund of fund for VC investment in SMEs. The second part of the session will acquaint participants with a number of other U.S. innovation programs, such as the R&D tax credit, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) and the Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, the I-Corps (Innovation Corps) program and state-level Technology-Based Economic Development (TBED) programs.

Read the insights here.

Relator: Mr. Kenan Patrick (Ken) Jarboe and Mr. Giuseppe Gramigna

Technology Policy Consultant | World Bank Senior Consultant and Former US SBA Chief Economist

Ken Jarboe is a technology policy consultant and an internationally recognized expert on the knowledge economy. From 2015 to 2019 he was the Senior Program Officer for Manufacturing, Design and Innovation at the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). In that role, he is responsible developing and managing studies on the changing nature of manufacturing and its impact on economic growth, employment, sustainability, and quality of life. Previously he was President and Cofounder of Athena Alliance, a Washington, DC-based non-profit research organization focused on the information, intangibles, and innovation (I-Cubed) economy. Dr. Jarboe received his Ph.D. in Sociotechnological Planning and B.S. in Engineering from the University of Michigan. He has served in a number of senior staff positions for the United States Senate, including as Chief Economist for the Senate Democratic Policy Committee. Before founding Athena Alliance he served as Senior U.S. Strategist at G7 Group, Inc., a Washington-based political economy consulting firm, as Senior Fellow at the Work and Technology Institute and as an analyst at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment. His consulting clients have included the National Academy of Science, the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, the Progressive Policy Institute, the Science and Technology Policy Institute and the German Institut Arbeit und Technik. Dr. Jarboe is the author of numerous publications and presentations on intellectual capital and intangible assets, innovation, economic competitiveness, and technology policy. He has also served as an Assistant Professor of Technology Management at the University of Maryland, University College and an Adjunct Professor of International Business at Georgetown University.

Giuseppe Gramigna’s work focuses on the small and medium enterprises (SMEs). He advises national, multilateral and non- profit entities on how to best assist SMEs. His area of expertise includes: (i) national SME policies, (ii) designing SME assistance programs, (iii) program benchmarking, performance and impact evaluations, (iv) portfolio credit risk monitoring and assessments, and (v) portfolio and partner risk management. Giuseppe works with international organizations such as the World Bank, OECD, APEC, and the ASEAN. He severs on the scientific committees of several academic institutions and publications. He also serves on the advisory board of several non-profit entities that assist SMEs. At the U.S. Small Business Administration, Giuseppe served as the Agency’s Chief Economist, where he advised the Agency on economic trends affecting small businesses, and led research on economic impact evaluations and strategic planning. He served as the Chair of the interagency Subcommittee on Evaluating Business Technical Assistance Programs (E-BTAP), a group responsible for developing best practices for implementing economic impact evaluations within the U.S. Federal government. He also serves as the U.S. Permanent Delegate and Vice Chair to the OECD Working Party on SMEs and Entrepreneurship.