Issue N° 141 - March 2016
The non-members subscribers will receive this newsletter at least two weeks after its official launch

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Keep up to date on innovation matters worldwide with the INSME Association!

Dear INSMEnews Readers,

the countdown towards our 12th INSME Annual Meeting has started.

Only some days are missing before we will be coming together at Doha!

In the meantime let me share the following:

“Somewhere beyond right and wrong, there is a garden.
I will meet you there.”



We are looking very much forward to experiencing the exchange of good practices, learning from each other and taking advantage of spending some memorable moments with good friends and innovation practitioners from all over the globe!

...and now as usual enjoy your reading!




Ms. Christin Pfeiffer

INSME Secretary General

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Updates on the life of the INSME Network

12th INSME Annual Meeting: check the International INSME-QDB Expert Training!

Everything is set to welcome innovator practitioners from all over the globe at Doha for the 12th INSME Annual Meeting. INSME and Qatar Development Bank have designed a range of exclusive initiatives to live a unique innovation experience through mutual learning and exchange of good practices. Influential speakers will discuss the topic "Enabling Smart SMEs as Key to Success" and enrich the agenda with their forward-looking perspectives, among them: Mr. Kapferer, OECD Deputy Secretary General and Mr. Marsh, best-selling author and former Technology Editor at the Financial Times.

A more practical approach toward innovation will be the focus of the International INSME-QDB Expert Training on "Design Thinking for Innovation in Practice".

The Training will discuss how organizations can benefit from the designers' way of thinking and working by applying their methods into business innovation. Participants will learn how to start a cultural shift in the organization to cultivate creativity as a fundamental part of managing a business and generate better outcomes. The Training is articulated in four different modules that will break down Design Thinking and reveal its implications for policy makers, financial actors, as well as public and private support organizations. A set of systematic methodologies will be shared by professionals of Design Thinking, Mr. David Moore, Guest Instructor at the Stanford Design Program and Mr. Rohit Shukla, Founder and CEO of Larta Institute. To enhance the learning experience, a constructive discussion among participants will be facilitated throughout the whole session to learn from and with peers.

The Annual Meeting will also work as a priority gateway to the local market potential by empowering contacts with Qatari companies, research institutes and business support organizations during the innovation tour to Qatar Science & Technology Park.

The 12th INSME Annual Meeting offers managers a wide range of opportunities to upgrade their skills and be successful in the innovation ecosystem, register through www.2016.insme.org and do not miss the occasion to be a part of it!

Organizers invite interested participants to take advantage of discounted rates negotiated with Qatar Airways and with accommodation options. Please check the "Travel" and "Accommodation" sections of the event's website to access detailed information.

INSME Secretary General at the 18th Microcredit Summit

From the 14th to the 17th of March, Abu Dhabi/United Arab Emirates hosted the 18th Microcredit Summit on "Frontiers Innovation in Financial Inclusion" organized by the Microcredit Summit Campaign and the Arab Gulf Fund Program for Development (AGFUND) together with Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development (INSME Vice President).

The Microcredit Summit is one of the largest microfinance gathering of influencers in this field: Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, H.R.H. Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz, President at AGFUND, Saudi Arabia, H.E. Queen Sofía of Spain and H.E. Hussain J. Al Nowais, Chairman at Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development brought their own perspectives on how microfinance and financial inclusion can reduce poverty for disadvantaged segments of society.

INSME Secretary General, Ms. Christin Pfeiffer actively contributed to the event by acting as a panelist during the session on "Advancing Financial Access for SMEs". Together with Mr. Munawar Reza Khan, Deputy Executive Director at TMSS from Bangladesh, Ms. Cynthia Villarreal, General Coordinator of the National Program for Financing Micro Entrepreneurs from Mexico and Mr. Nasser Al-Kahtani, Executive Director at AGFUND from Saudi Arabia, Ms. Pfeiffer discussed about the conditions to create a favorable investment environment to increase productivity and job creation in small and medium enterprises. Opportunities for young entrepreneurs and women to nurture a culture of innovation and creativity have also been part of the joint brainstorming.

More than 1000 participants among Heads of State, high-level government officials, leaders from microfinance institutions, global development organizations, foundations, social investment firms and corporations attended the event, which proves the high level of interest and enormous potential of microfinance as a tool to promote inclusive growth.

For further information, please click here.

A new Member on board!

INSME is delighted to announce its collaboration with the Institute for Competitiveness (I-com), a not-for-profit organization based in Italy joining the Network as Full Member.

In a European and international policy-making perspective, the Institute gathers young academics, professionals and managers to promote and analyze competitiveness through an integrated approach that includes relevant factors as energy, communications, finance, institutions and innovation.

To pursue this objective, the I-Com mainly deals with the organization of courses, seminars, trainings and debates on the competitiveness of the Italian system in Europe and at international level; the publication of books, notebooks, working and position papers on the most relevant themes related to competition; the development of online and offline dissemination material to increase the cultural and scientific knowledge of its members.

Learn more here.

The Network can now count on the support of 84 Members from 37 countries across 4 out of 5 continents.

News and contributions from the INSME Members

DUBAI SME (INSME Member from the United Arab Emirates) hosted the MENA-OECD Working Group on SME Policy and Entrepreneurship

On the 8th and 9th of March 2016 Dubai SME, an agency of the Department of Economic Development of the Government of Dubai (INSME Member), hosted the Working Group Meeting on SME Policy and Entrepreneurship of the MENA-OECD Competitiveness Programme.

The MENA-OECD Competitiveness Programme was launched in 2005 following the request of MENA Governments to support investment policy reforms through the exchange of good practices in a wide range of policy areas, the identification of priority actions and support to their implementation.

The Working Group on "Enhancing SME policies for Inclusive Growth" provides a platform for OECD policymakers, civil society, the business community and academia to discuss strategic priorities in the framework of SME and entrepreneurship policy for the extended mandate (2016-2020) of the MENA-OECD Competitiveness Programme. With a special attention to the private sector, the Working Group treated as thematic priorities the improvement of a favorable environment for businesses, the promotion of enterprise creation and SME growth and better access to finance. Ms. Pfeiffer, INSME Secretary General was invited by the OECD and contributed actively to the discussion.

Learn more here.

UNECE (INSME Member) to launch new work for better data on entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is a fundamental source of innovation and a key driver of economic productivity. Despite the large amount of statistics available on the size, industry and financial statements of businesses, it remains still unclear which the factors that sustain entrepreneurship are. More robust data on entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial development is needed to support policymakers in creating an enabling environment for starting a business. With this in mind, UNECE (INSME Member) is collaborating with the OECD (INSME Moral Sponsor) and Eurostat to develop new indicators to analyze the characteristics of people launching start-ups, their former experiences and the factors determining their entrepreneurial success. The collected data sets will combine diverse sources of information and draw on business registers, population and trade statistics to provide new insights on the globalization of businesses, the contribution of young entrepreneurs to economic development and the gender balance among business owners.

Prior to this initiative, UNECE, the OECD and Eurostat also collaborated to the Guidelines on Statistical Business Registers, providing practical guidance and recommendations on the creation and maintenance of statistical business registers.

Learn more here.

The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (INSME Member from Kuwait) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the American Association for the Advancement of Science

The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (INSME Member) strengthens ties with the world's largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

For the upcoming three years, KFAS and AAAS will work together on awareness-raising activities to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics to build a competitive research capacity within the Kuwait research community by putting a special emphasis on creating stronger links between research and the private sector.

One of the most relevant activities of this collaboration will be the establishment of networks of expertise including researchers from all areas of science and technology, professionals in the field of product development and technology transfer, innovators and entrepreneurs, through the organization of workshops, symposia and targeted expert advice.

Learn more here.

INSME's Picks in the News

Caribbean Development Bank: a view on the Region's economic performances

Caribbean economies experienced slow growth in 2015 due to global economic difficulties and mixed circumstances resulting in low commodity prices, falling in oil revenues and an overall downturn in export trade. This is what is stated by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) in its annual review of the performance of regional Borrowing Member Countries, recognizing among the reasons behind the low growth rate of the region the effects of the slowdown in China and the impact of natural disasters. Tourism still remains the core business of the region, with the majority of destinations recording an increase in the number of visitors. Overall Caribbean countries are still highly affected by unemployment, with rates decreasing only in Jamaica, Belize and Barbados. In the field of trade and export a point worth of attention is that Trinidad y Tobago, the region's biggest oil and gas exporter recorded a deficit in 2015.

CDB also provided an outlook on the region's growth performance in 2016 and estimates that it will grow of only 0.3% in the current year because of diverse global uncertainties. This insufficient growth rate will prevent the region from developing more robust initiatives to address unemployment, equality and poverty reductions issues. CDB also identified a set of priority areas of intervention to advance towards a sustainable growth in the region, these are: the private sector, the development of human talent and governments playing a leading role as business facilitators.

Read more here.

The Singapore Business Federation's Position Paper to strengthen the Singapore Economy

Singapore achieved notable progress over the last 50 years but its economy is now at a new crossroads, facing a challenging environment both internally and externally. Upon the initiative of the Singapore Business Federation - SBF, the Position Paper for a Vibrant Singapore was first conceived in 2015 to provide recommendations to the newly formed Government on issues that would impact the most on businesses for the upcoming 10/15 years. The Position Paper includes inputs from 70 business leaders, entrepreneurs, representatives from academia and economists, media and trade associations, as well as from local and foreign business chambers.

On an immediate-term perspective, the Singapore Government is suggested to analyze the motivations for the increase in costs faced by businesses in the recent period and review and refine manpower policies to continue to be attractive to foreign talents.

On a medium to long term perspective, the Government needs to encourage Singapore-based companies to expand internationally while keeping key activities anchored in the country to create inspiring jobs for Singaporean people.

Read more here.

INSME Picks in the Web

Entrepreneurial culture and start-ups - Could a cultural shift in favour of entrepreneurship lead to more innovative start-ups?

Europe lags behind the United States and Israel in terms of successful start-ups. There is strong evidence to believe that the reason behind Europe's weakness when it comes to starting a business lies in a cultural dimension. It has been demonstrated that regions recording a higher number of innovative start-ups usually also have a strong entrepreneurial spirit. This article by Dr. Klaus-Heiner Röhl, Senior Economist at the Cologne Institute for Economic Research, examines what defines the entrepreneurial culture of successful start-up regions by analyzing different start-up systems in Europe, United States, United Kingdom and Israel. The paper comes up with a series of recommendations to develop an entrepreneurial ambition that include strengthening the entrepreneurial culture at schools, playing a leading role in transferring business and entrepreneurship knowledge, as well as encouraging the unemployed to start companies by providing a combination of training and financial support.

Read the whole article here.

Transparency is the Key to Open Innovation

According to Denys Resnick from NineSigma, open innovation is increasingly becoming a widely accepted and applied strategy for companies in all business sectors. Important players realized that R&D strategies can be shared with the global innovation community without compromising their competitive position. On the contrary, increased transparency makes companies more competitive. As a matter of fact, external providers can energize innovation by presenting ideas and solutions that were not considered before. Of course, a mental shift is needed as R&D managers may not feel comfortable to share information during the product development process. Online open innovation platforms concretely contribute to transparency and have proven to be an effective way to overcome this challenge. They work as recruitment sites in which the company posts its solution needs and gets connected to a network of professionals coming from different scientific and technical disciplines. A mutual contribution approach is the real benefit of online open innovation platforms: it is not only about companies looking for partners to develop new ideas, but it is also about partners proposing new solutions and technologies to the company.

Read more here.

Tenders, Calls & Consultations

A call for Ideas: Designing a European Innovation Council

Europe registers positive performances in Research and Science, but good ideas alone do not contribute to the creation of employment and business opportunities, they need to be fueled. If compared to other areas such as the United States, European countries are lagging behind and to overcome this situation the European Commission has launched the European Innovation Council. The Council needs to be designed on the best possible ideas and evidence from relevant stakeholders to exploit its potential at the maximum extent. The European Commission thus invites entrepreneurs, representatives from business, academia, national and regional authorities to contribute with views and perspectives by taking part in a dedicated Call for Ideas.

Interested stakeholders are requested to answer to a few questions at this link by the 29th of April 2016. It will also be possible to contribute by uploading a position paper.

To get the analysis of the Call for Ideas stay tuned as results will be available by June 2016 at this page.

Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition 2016

Young Citizen Entrepreneurship is a Global Competition organized by Digital Experts United, Goi Peace Foundation and Stiftung Entrepreneurship to empower young entrepreneurs to create a sustainable world. In this frame young entrepreneurs between 18 and 35 years old are invited to submit ideas or proposals addressing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Best ideas and projects will be evaluated on the basis of their entrepreneurial vision, feasibility, innovation, social impact and sustainability. Entries will be posted on the competition website and it is possible to vote for them from the 1st of June to the 31st of August 2016. Finalists will be requested to present a three-minute video highlighting the expected impact of their ideas/projects.

Winners will be announced at the Entrepreneurship Summit taking place on the 29th of October in Berlin, Germany and will be awarded with medals and certificates.

The deadline to submit ideas and projects is the 30th of June 2016.

Check all the details at this page.

The Startup Challenge for Latin America

SWIFT - The Global Provider of Secure Financial Messaging Services annually launches the Innotribe Startup Competition. This year for the first time Innotribe partners with SWIFT's Latin America Regional Conference (LARC) - taking place in June 2016 in Mexico City - to identify the most innovative Latin American start-ups working on creative alternatives to traditional banking and finance services.

Innovative technology and technology-based financial service companies are invited to participate to the challenge. In order to be considered eligible it is necessary to have proper headquarters in Latin America and work in areas such as social media tools, security, small business apps and many others.

The three winning companies will be awarded with a cash prize of 10,000 US Dollars each and they will also have the opportunity to showcase their products at Sibos, the world's major financial services event taking place in Geneva, Switzerland in September 2016.

The deadline for submissions is the 22nd of April.

Find out more here.

Interesting Initiatives

Inter-American Development Bank, U.S. State Department and Kiva.org launch Women's Entrepreneurship Fund

Women have high potential as entrepreneurs and leaders, but they struggle to fully express their abilities given the difficulties they meet in accessing finance. With the aim to empower women as contributors to the economic growth, the Inter-American Development Bank - IDB (INSME Member), the U.S. State Department and Kiva.org, a US based non-profit organization, have recently announced a partnership to create the Women's Entrepreneurship Fund.

Within five years the Fund will enable women entrepreneurs to access fund ranging from 450 US Dollars to 100,000 US Dollars and the three partners will contribute to the Fund as follows:

  • Kiva.org will give its contribution as one of the major crowdfunding platforms in the world, fostering its activity and designing flexible load products tailored for business women's needs;
  • The U.S. Department of State will measure the Fund's effectiveness;
  • Through the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) the IDB Group will offer strategic assistance to early-stage equity companies acting in a variety of sectors.

Read more here.


Economic Outlook for Southeast Asia, China and India 2016

Annual economic growth in the ASEAN Region is expected to reach an average of 4.6% in 2015 and rise to 5.2% over the medium term. Growth rates vary across the region: India is expected to register the best performance in the region with an annual growth rate of 7.3%.

The data are offered by the Economic Outlook for Southeast Asia, China and India 2016 recently released by the OECD (INSME Moral Sponsor) analyzing the economic conditions of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam), People's Republic of China and India.

The report shows the current situation in the area and provides an overview of future challenges and perspectives with a special focus on the enhancement of regional ties. According to the publication since 1980s regional integration has considerably progressed led by the countries of Southeast Asia and the recently established ASEAN Economic Community is a fundamental milestone in this integration process. Despite all the efforts done so far, further measures are required to be competitive in the changing global environment:

  • Achieving a more effective coordination between the existing regional initiatives and national agendas;
  • Handling the development gaps within the Region in order to implement common targets and approaches;
  • Strengthening the cooperation with non-ASEAN members, with a particular focus in areas like financial stability, trade and investment promotion, environmental and disaster risk management;
  • Developing a better monitoring system that requires the introduction of new indicators;
  • Making a larger use of renewable energies to demonstrate a major attention to the green issues;
  • Creating new policies to better support the high potential of the private sector, in particular SMEs, through investments in emerging sectors like the green field.

The Chinese slowdown and the rise of U.S. interest rates are the major risks for the region that can be overcome through a more inclusive and sustainable development and improvement of competitiveness.

Find out more about challenges and perspectives and read the country notes by downloading the whole report here.

Entrepreneurship Education at School in Europe

The European Union and the Member States are strongly committed to the development and promotion of entrepreneurship education considered as a key to face today's complex world and the challenges due to the global crisis. European Institutions are stressing on entrepreneurship education identifying it as one of the areas of immediate intervention as stated in the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan.

As a consequence Member States are invited to adopt a new approach toward education and training including entrepreneurship education to inspire young generations to become more active, creative and acquire skills as entrepreneurial citizens.

The Eurydice Network has recently released Entrepreneurship Education at School in Europe, a publication providing the most recent information on strategies, curricula and learning outcomes. The report consists of five chapters covering different aspects of entrepreneurship education at school in Europe, among them:

  • The definition of entrepreneurship education and its context;
  • The measures adopted and the sources of funding available to promote entrepreneurship education;
  • The current state of entrepreneurship education in European countries and the progress of its implementation.

The whole report is available here.

Recommended Website

The new portal of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation - APEC recently launched

Since 1989 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation - APEC is committed to support sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific Region, by promoting regional economic cooperation and integration. As a result of APEC's efforts, GDP in the region doubled from 13 trillion US Dollars in 1989 to 31 trillion US Dollars in 2013.

To offer the best access possible to its activities, resources, publications and updates, APEC has recently launched a new website, rich of new contents and accessible from a variety of devices.

Have a look the new APEC's portal here.

Recommended Newsletter

This is Design Thinking: the Newsletter

Design Thinking is more and more perceived as a new way to tackle today's complex economies as it combines an integrative thinking with a holistic view.

A group of researches, authors and design thinking practitioners decided to put together the efforts to better understand the relevance of design thinking for contemporary organizations and the how's and why's of its success or failure by creating This is Design Thinking, a portal offering access to relevant information and success stories where it is possible to subscribe to the newsletter featuring case studies, interviews and exclusive content on design thinking.

To subscribe to the newsletter please click here.


Highlighted events

WIPO Conference on the Global Digital Content Market

From the 20th to the 22nd of April 2016
Geneva, Switzerland

Organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization- WIPO (INSME Member)

From the 20th to the 22nd of April 2016 Geneva, Switzerland will host the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Conference on Global Digital Content Market which will explore:

  • Copyright in the digital age;
  • The impact of digital environment on creators;
  • The role for publishers, producers and distribution platforms;
  • Digital markets, access and participation.

The program will include a keynote address on "The Global Digital Content Value Chain and Sustainable Creativity" and sessions on:

  • Music: From Vinyl to Streaming;
  • Film - Sustaining the Film Industry in the Digital Environment;
  • Broadcasting - New Models for Connection with the Audience;
  • Publishing - The Codex in the Digital Age;
  • Digital Architecture - The Soft Infrastructure of the Global Market;
  • Opportunities and Challenges - Markets, Policy and Diplomacy.

More information about the conference is available here.

The organizers invite interested participants to register as soon as possible given the limited number of seats available.

OECD Forum

From the 31st of May to the 1st of June 2016
Paris, France

Organized by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (INSME Moral Sponsor)

The OECD annually organizes a conference recognized as one of the most important occasions to share and discuss policies among diverse stakeholders, namely governments, businesses, civil society and academia.

The Forum will be an opportunity to debate and gain insights on policy trends related to inclusive growth and productivity with a particular attention to the major issues on the top of the global agenda such as Innovation and Digital Economy, International Collaboration, as well as Access to Health and Education.

The OECD has launched new spaces for discussion; experts will take advantage of innovative sessions arrangements as Ideas Factories, where participants and experts work together and combine experiences and perspectives, being part of the same process towards the creation of potential new solutions and many others.

More information about the Forum is available at this page and interest participants are invited to register by the 27th of May here.

Future international meetings, workshops, seminars selected by INSME

From the 7th to the 8th of April 2016
Organized by ANIMA Investment Network (INSME Member), MedAlliance, NGE Impact, Maroc Export
Casablanca, Morocco

From the 14th to the 16th of April 2016
1st Euro-Mediterranean Conference 2016 on "Smart Urban Development and Blue Growth opportunities for cities, communities and islands in the Mediterranean basin"
Organized by University of Cyprus - KIOS Research Center for Intelligent Systems and Networks, National Technical University of Athens, School of Rural and Surveying Engineering, Dept. of Geography and Regional Planning, the Smart Cities Mediterranean Cluster, the CNE Business Development Ltd and Papadopoulos and Schinis Production Ltd
Limassol, Cyprus

From the 18th to the 19th of April 2016
12th Annual Meeting on Creativity, Jobs and Local Development
Organized by the OECD LEED Forum on Partnerships and Local Development
Venice, Italy

From the 26th to the 27th of April 2016
Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference 2016 - World Intellectual Property Day
Organized by The Arab Society for Intellectual Property in cooperation with the Licensing Executive Society- Arab Countries (LES-AC) and Abu Ghazaleh for Intellectual Property (AGIP)
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

From the 9th to the 11th of May 2016
2nd Annual International Conference and Exhibition on "Global Value Chain: Opportunities for the Free Zone of the Future"
Organized by World Free Zones Organization
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

From the 12th to the 13th of May 2016
Understanding the EU Budget: Less of the Same Until 2020?
Organized by the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA)
Maastricht, the Netherlands

From the 23rd to the 24th of May 2016
5th Danube Financing Dialogue
On behalf of the European Commission (DG Regio), implemented by Priority Area 10, organized by Metis and hosted by the National Bank of Slovakia
Bratislava, Slovakia

24th of May 2016
The 14th Annual European Financial Services Conference
Organized by Assonime, Barclays and Kreab under the aegis of the European Commission
Brussels, Belgium

From the 24th to the 26th of May 2016
The 11th International Conference on ICT for Development, Education & Training
Hosted by ITIDA, under the auspices of the Ministry of ICT
Cairo, Egypt

From the 19th to the 22nd of June 2016
ISPIM Innovation Conference: Blending Tomorrow's Innovation Vintage
Organized by ISPIM (INSME Member)
Porto, Portugal

From the 22nd to the 24th of June 2016
Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2016
Organized by the White House, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the State Department
San Francisco Bay Area, California

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