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.

How SMEs could leverage sustainability to drive innovation

Date: July, 2, 2020 | From 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. - CEST

Sustainability increasingly sits at the epicenter of discourse with policy makers, companies and consumers. But the topic is often shrouded in a lack of clarity and misconceptions are rife; for example, that pursuing the aim of sustainability is necessarily challenging and costly.

We believe that sustainability should not be feared, but that it presents companies with a unique driver for innovation. We would like to outline our view on sustainability, consider what it means for the economy and firms alike and share some best practices.

Equally, we will give an overview of our holistic approach as well as the IMP³rove Stages-of-Excellence tool, which can be used to support companies in leveraging sustainability for innovation to gain a competitive advantage in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

Read the insights here.

Relator: Mr. Martin Ruppert

Managing Director, IMP³rove – European Innovation Management Academy , Germany

Martin Ruppert is Managing Director of IMP³rove – European Innovation Management Academy and core team member of the Innovation and R&D Management practice at A.T. Kearney. Building on various consulting projects, he has comprehensive experience in innovation management, ranging from the review of innovation strategy and innovation portfolio to the development of innovative business models. He worked in Europe, the Middle East, and in Asia-Pacific. Martin is author of numerous publications on innovation management and co-author of the Global Innovation Index reports in 2015 and 2016. He has been seconded to the World Economic Forum to manage the project “Fostering Innovation-Driven Entrepreneurship in Europe” and was advisor for the project “Collaborative Innovation – Transforming Business, Driving Growth”.

Social Enterprise at a time of Crisis

Date: June, 25, 2020 | From 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. - CEST

Social Enterprises (SEs) have carved out a unique path in the landscape of enterprise and economic development. All enterprises are socially embedded, but SEs have demonstrated how mission, form and action geared towards addressing the needs of communities, changes people’s lives, even when they operate with constrained resources. From acupuncture to bus shelters, care for the elderly, education, the use of drones for local farming, and women at work, SEs have transformed the agenda for growth and development around the world. They have impacted corporate agendas and public services hugely resulting in their own switch to shared values and enhanced public good services. COVID-19 underscores the fragility of SEs, but equally, crises sharpen the focus on their value and resilience.

This webinar will walk participants through the changing scenarios of SEs, their massive influence on SMEs and business in general, and how they navigate their way through crises.

Read the insights here

Relator: Prof. Jay Mitra

Professor of Business Enterprise and Innovation, Essex Business School, University of Essex, UK, and INSME Board Member

Jay Mitra is Professor of Business Enterprise and Innovation and Director of the Venture Academy at Essex Business School, University of Essex. He has acted as a Scientific Adviser to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) as the Head of the Scientific Committee on Entrepreneurship for the OECD’s Centre for Entrepreneurship and the LEED (Local Economic and Employment Development) Programme at its Trento Centre and in Paris. He is a Visiting Scholar at the University of Luneburg, Germany, a has been a Visiting Professor at University Externado, Colombia, the Institute of Management Technology, India, the School of Management, Fudan University, and the School of Public Policy at Jilin University, both in China, and at Bologna University, Italy. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in the UK. Jay Mitra also leads the International Entrepreneurship Forum (IEF) a unique network and forum for researchers, policy makers and business practitioners working on entrepreneurship, innovation and regional development issues ( He is the editor of the new Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Emerging Economies’ published by Sage.

Intellectual Property Management

Date: June, 11, 2020 | From 3.00 to 4.00 p.m. - CEST

In the current era of knowledge-based economy, the main value of companies is represented by the so-called “intangible assets” that became crucial for businesses.  Adequate protection and management of Intellectual Property Rights can generate a considerable increase in the value of innovative and creative businesses. Furthermore companies able to innovate and protect their IP assets, grow more rapidly and generate the greatest benefits for the business itself and the community.

That said, before starting any business abroad is highly advisable to know tips and tricks to protect SME’s IP rights in the destination markets/countries. The ability of SMEs to develop and adopt long term and best cost-effective worldwide strategies of protection and exploitation of IPRs is one of the pillars of successful exporting activities in these countries. 

Read the insights here.

Relator: Mr. Elio De Tullio

Italian Attorney-at-Law and Lawyer, Registered European and Italian Trade Mark & Design Attorney, De Tullio & Partners

Elio De Tullio is Managing Partner of De Tullio & Partners, Intellectual Property Law Firm. Attorney-at-Law admitted to the Bar in Italy since 1994 and litigator before the Italian Corporate Courts specialized in Intellectual Property. He is registered as European and Italian Trade Mark & Design Attorney since 2005. He matured considerable expertise in assisting companies (in particular, SMEs) and associations operating internationally in the technology sector. He cooperates as an expert with WIPO, EUIPO and the European Commission, as well as with the EU-China and the EU-Asean IPR SME Helpdesks. He is a frequent lecturer for several Italian Universities and speaker during international conferences and seminars, as well as author of numerous publications and articles on international magazines and reviews.

The Lean Start-up Methodology

Date: May, 28, 2020 | From 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. - CEST

The lean start up is a powerful tool to make sure we approach an innovation from a problem based point of view rather than from a technology, solution driven one.

We develop innovations to create an impact, mobilise a change while solving problems. If nobody uses our ideas, in any way we will not be able to achieve our goals.

The webinar, designed with people with little business experience, will introduce the methodology and the tool and help participants to look at their daily jobs with a different perspective.

Read the insights here.

Relator: Mr. Andrea Di Anselmo

Vice President & Founding Member, META & Vice President, INSME –The International Network for SMEs

Andrea Di Anselmo is a founding member of META. He has 25 years of experience in innovation and startup support gained participating to international projects and influencing strategic addresses as member of the BoD of intermediary organizations, research institutes, Business Angels Networks and SMEs. He is in the Board of Directors of META Ventures, the management company operating the Ingenium seed funds in Italy, Slovenia and Poland. Andrea is also Vice President of INSME.

The Israeli Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Date: May, 14, 2020 | 3 p.m. - 4 p.m. - CEST

Imagine the world without drip irrigation, flash memory, voicemail, cherry tomatoes, computer firewalls, and more. All these inventions come from Israel, 9 million people, 20,000 a country which is 453 times smaller than the US and comparable in size to Fiji, Slovenia, and El Salvador.
With the highest density of start-ups in the world, Israel has become known as the “Start-Up Nation” and Tel Aviv is now ranked second to Silicon Valley among the world’s start-up ecosystems, with US$ 111.3 Billion in exits over the past decade, including 21.7 Billion in 2019 alone.$8.3 Billion in venture capital were invested in 522 deals, putting the per capita investment at almost three times the US figure, with absolute venture investment second only to the US. With 6,600 active technology companies across diverse sectors, it is no wonder that multinationals flock to Israel to acquire companies and establish R&D centres, more than 300 currently. How did a small, young, geographically isolated country with no natural resources achieve this feat? What lessons may be relevant to other countries, companies, and individuals? Nava Swersky Sofer, the innovation guru quoted in the NY Times bestseller ‘Start-Up Nation’ and an INSME board member, will share the secrets of success.

Read the insights here.

Relator: Ms. Nava Swersky Sofer

President & Founding Board Member of the International Commercialization Alliance, Canada & Founder of NanoIsrael, Israel

Nava Swersky Sofer, an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, senior executive, innovation & technology commercialization expert with 25 years of international experience, is recognized as a leader in the fields of innovation, venture capital and technology transfer and is a frequently-invited speaker on these topics. In addition to company boards and international consulting, she is currently President & Founding Board Member of the Toronto-based International Commercialization Alliance; Founder of NanoIsrael, the international nanotechnology conference & exhibition, an adviser to the Israeli government on innovation and international R&D collaborations and an adviser to the United Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on innovation. She is the Israeli delegate to OECD’s Business & Industry Advisory Council (BIAC) nanotechnology committee and development/innovation network, a board member of Rome-based INSME, the International Network for SMEs, and of the Brussels-based Knowledge Economy Network. She is a visiting professor at IE Business School in Madrid, a member of the Board of Governors and of the 11-person Executive Committee of the Ruppin Academic Centre, one of Israel’s leading colleges, and was recently named as one of the 500 leaders pre-selected (of over 8,000 candidates) to serve on the boards of directors of government-owned corporations. She is often quoted on Israeli innovation models, including in the best-selling book “Start-Up Nation”.

Innovation Management

Date: April, 30, 2020 | From 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. - CEST

Innovation Management requires an actionable skills set to both lead and manage innovation, as Hamsa Thota reported in his fundamental book “Key Concepts in Innovation”. These skills highlighted are crucial for managers and political leaders as well.

While on the one hand skills required to lead include utilization of key concepts such as innovation work, purpose and value, policy and mindset, leadership and transformation; on the other one among the skills required to manage innovation there are the mastery of key concepts in the front end of innovation (prove the concept), the middle (utilize new product development process to build product/service) and the backend (extract value by creating compelling customer experiences and lifecycle management).

Read the insights here

Relator: Dr. Hamsa Thota

President, Innovation Business Development (IBD), Inc.

Dr. Hamsa Thota is the founder and president of US based Innovation Business Development (IBD), Inc., a company specializing in product innovation performance improvement. He has 40 years of accomplishments as an inventor, entrepreneur, innovator, and teacher. He trains and consults with organizations to improve new product success rates in the US, China and India. He holds 10 U.S. patents. He coauthored “Key concepts in innovation”, a fundamental reference book for practitioners, students and scholars of innovation. He served as a senior advisor to the U.S. Art of Science Learning (ASL) project. Under his guidance, ASL project teams explored connections among arts-based learning and scientific innovation. Working in Innovation Incubators operating in San Diego, Chicago and Worcester, MA, the project teams developed STEM based novel solutions to pressing civic challenges.

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Date: March, 25, 2020 | From 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. - CET

Economic growth depends on capital accumulation (investment) and technical change, two elements that are strictly related to each other.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is an important driver for industrial performance and productivity growth that is highly influenced by the availability of qualified local entrepreneurs and investors, however quite difficult to find in many development countries.

In this regard, the Arab International Center for Entrepreneurship & Investment (AICEI) promoted the Enterprise Development & Investment Promotion Program (EDIP), which is a package approach aimed at developing the capacities of potential entrepreneurs/investors in order to boost their capabilities and assist them in developing their own private businesses.

The EDIP assists start-up entrepreneurs (through the Enterprise Creation Program) and represents a major mechanism as well for upgrading and expanding existing MSMEs (Enterprise Growth Program).

EDIP facilitates and endorses domestic investment that leads to the attraction of the foreign direct ones, through the UNIDO and ITPO Network, and therefore to job creation and more diversified economy. Further to the above, EDIP has evolved also into a well-structured Incubation system, currently implemented in 52 countries around the World.

Read the insights here.

Relator: Mr. Hashim S. Hussein

Head of UNIDO, Investment and Technology Promotion Office, Kingdom of Bahrain

Hashim S. Hussein is the Head of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Investment and Technology Promotion Office in the Kingdom of Bahrain (ITPO Bahrain) and the Director of the Arab International Center for Entrepreneurship & Investment (AICEI), along with other notable roles in economic and sustainable development oriented entities. Hashim S. Hussein has acquired a valuable experience in the field of Industrial Development, Investment and Technology Promotion over the last 30 years. He also has a remarkable experience in SME and Entrepreneurship development and as advocate for Women’s Economic Empowerment. He holds a PhD (Honors) in International Law of the Sea from the University of Nantes, France and obtained also a Doctoral Research Programme from the University of Maryland at College Park, Centre for International Development and Conflict Management (CIDCM), Maryland, U.S.A in the year 1989. He has worked at various responsibility levels in different countries like USA, Egypt, Sudan, Austria and the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Enhancing financial literacy in Hungary

Date: February, 24, 2020 | From 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. - CET

The Hungarian strategy on the enhancement of financial education has been developed considering international best practices available in the OECD/INFE framework. The strategy covers 7 years, from 2018 to 2024, breaking down its practical implementation into two-year action plan.

The strategy’s evolutionary nature enables smooth adjustment to the rapidly changing economic and technological environment if needed. The goal is to raise the level of financial capability of the Hungarian citizens in order to be smarter, more efficient in their individual and family finances. In particular, at the forefront of this strategy there are financial planning, obtaining credits responsibly, basics of financial consumer protection, more widespread use of electronic payments, etc.

The development of this strategy involves a large number of stakeholders from the public, private and civil sector and the experiences gained in the first 2 years are encouraging, although a long road needs still to be covered. All these topics will be presented and discussed more in details during the webinar “Enhancing financial literacy in Hungary” held by Mr Balogh.

Read the insights here

Relator: Mr. László Balogh

Deputy State Secretary of Financial Policy Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Hungary

Mr. László Balogh has held many relevant roles in the financial field during his career. Besides being Deputy State Secretary of Financial Policy Affairs in Hungary, he is member both of the EU and the OECD Economic Policy Committees, and the Financial Stability Board’s Regional Group in Europe. Since 2018 he is member of the EIB (European Investment Bank) Audit Committee and he has been also Vice President at the Hungarian Financial Supervisory Authority (HFSA) for more than 3 years, among other roles, he has been also Ambassador in Hungary’s first Permanent Representative at the OECD. In addition to all the experiences gained through his career, he has also written a number of books and publications on financial themes.

Financial resources and capabilities for start-ups growth

Date: November, 27, 2019 | From 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. - CET

The major public policy objectives in supporting business creation is to help new entities acquire resources required to successfully start and grow their businesses (knowledge, capital, networks).

Considering financial literacy and skills, many countries today offer a mix development support, set up in the combined operating processes of their development institutions, guarantee schemes and advisory support bodies. This combination has shown in the past its full value for start-ups in traditional activities.

In the recent years, due to the mediatisation of remarkably successful ventures, of record volumes of equity raising, of the development of fintech and new forms of financing, including direct financing from the “real economy”, a vision of an easier context for innovative start-ups tends to set itself up.

Still, a less rosy picture exists for the majority of new SMEs, which still face traditional weaknesses and problems, some changes creating greater difficulties for accessing finance and developing skills.

In a fast-changing situation, the need for an updated, coherent and multi-level approach to entrepreneurship and SME development, taking into account the heterogeneity of situations, is a real challenge for policy makers and development institutions.

Relator: Mr. Jean-Louis Leloir

Special Adviser to the Board of Directors, European Association of Guarantee Institutions

Jean-Louis Leloir graduated from the French High Business School ESCP in 1975. He has filled since 1979 various responsibilities (at Head Office and Branches), mostly in the field of loan guarantee schemes, in the Bpifrance group, French public development institution supporting SME financing. Formerly Credit Department Manager and Auditor, he was for the last 10 years Head of Technical Assistance and Consulting, addressing acquired expertise to foreign guarantee institutions, mostly in MENA Region and Africa, in assignments from Donors and International Institutions (World Bank Group, AFD, OECD, and European Commission). Since 2015 he has been Special Adviser to the Board of Directors of the European Association of Guarantee Institutions (AECM).