Issue N° 142 - April 2016
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Keep up to date on innovation matters worldwide with the INSME Association!

Dear INSMEnews Readers,

we are just back from our 12th INSME Annual Meeting on "Enabling Smart SMEs as Key to Success" and I highly enjoyed the fruitful networking and knowledge exchange with many of you.

Enabling Leaders to Drive Change is our mission and to follow this purpose let me share the following:

"He that would be a leader must also be a bridge"

(Welsh Proverb)

Courtesy of Elio De Tullio


I thank all our esteemed speakers, trainers and active participants of the Doha initiative for their strong commitment.

A special thanks goes to our member and friend QDB - Qatar Development Bank, who made this amazing initiative become reality and a further milestone of the INSME Annual Meeting Success Story!

...and now as usual enjoy your reading!




Ms. Christin Pfeiffer

INSME Secretary General

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Supporting organisations:


Updates on the life of the INSME Network

12th INSME Annual Meeting: networking, knowledge-sharing and welcoming INSME’s New President Sergio Arzeni

The breathtaking city of Doha has served as perfect frame of the recent successful INSME Annual Meeting hosted by Qatar Development Bank (INSME Board Member).

The event confirmed itself as a unique networking and knowledge-sharing opportunity: more than 180 participants from 31 countries appreciated the high relevance of topics treated during the Round Tables and the International Conference. H. E. The Minister of Economy and Commerce of Qatar opened the International Conference welcoming delegates and Speakers and highlighting the crucial role of SMEs for a sustainable and lasting economic growth. A variety of international experts shared innovative approaches, new ideas and concepts with the audience elaborating their thoughts on “Enabling Smart SMEs as Key to Success”. The International Training on “Design Thinking for Innovation in Practice” has been highly appreciated and received a positive feedback by all participants. The networking opportunities offered also during the innovation tour to Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) and Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development have been perceived as an indisputable added value, being a chance to better understand the local business environment and set the basis for collaboration potential among the diverse stakeholders.

The event has also witnessed an important transition in the Governance of the Association: on the 12th of April the General Assembly has warmly welcomed the INSME’s New President, Mr. Sergio Arzeni, former Director of the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and Local Development who took over the role covered by Mr. Andrea Di Anselmo, Vice-President & Founding Member of META Group, during the last three years. Mr. Di Anselmo continues to support the Network as Vice President.

To strengthen the collaboration with Qatar and lay the foundations for concrete actions for the advancement of SMEs and the creation of a fertile innovation eco-system at a local and global level, a delegation from INSME was invited to meet with H.E. the Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani.

The three day event – including Round Tables, the International Conference, the International QDB – INSME International Expert Training and the Innovation Tour – has been a further milestone in the success story of the Network that can currently count on the support of 83 Members from 38 different countries.

The event’s website is now updated with the Speakers’ presentations.

INSME President at the 12th Annual Meeting of the OECD LEED Forum on Partnerships and Local Development

From the 18th to the 19th of April, Mr. Sergio Arzeni, INSME President and former Director at the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs and Local Development actively participated at the 12th Annual Meeting of the OECD LEED Forum on Partnerships and Local Development on creativity, jobs and local development that took place in Venice, Italy.

The initiative was an opportunity to discuss the role of local organizations in supporting culture and creative industries as a fundamental source of knowledge and job creation. Throughout three plenary sessions, the meeting examined how to link education and training to develop good skills for better jobs as well as how to exploit the transformative power of social innovation to promote a more inclusive local development.

A highlight was the presentation of the 2016 Edition of the OECD Scoreboard on Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs, providing relevant information on the opportunities and challenges related to access to finance.

Additional project site visits have been scheduled to analyze and learn from the examples of best practices and policy innovations developed in Venice and the Veneto region.

For further information, please click on the following link.

MIRRIS Coaching Seminars: transferring knowledge and operational experience

Upon the conclusion of the third round of policy dialogues in new EU Member States (EU13) organized to identify a set of intervention modalities to increase the participation of national R&D organizations and SMEs in Horizon 2020, the MIRRIS project entered into its last phase by carrying out a series of coaching seminars with the final aim of ensuring a smooth implementation of the priority actions proposed and discussed with relevant stakeholders during the policy dialogue exercise.

Internationally recognized experts guided a group of key stakeholders in the Czech Republic, Croatia and Cyprus throughout the discussion on the critical factors and opportunities of implementing novel intervention schemes to ensure better participation of national actors to EU Programs. The experts shared practical experience and put a special focus on how to create synergies among EU funding sources and set-up a European support grant office.

To present the main results of the initiative and analyze the key factors that influence the participation to the Research and Innovation Programmes funded by the European Commission together with the beneficiary countries, the MIRRIS project organizes an exclusive high-level final Conference on the 26th of May in Brussels, Belgium.

To find out more about the conference, please click here.

MIRRIS (Mobilizing Institutional Reforms in Research and Innovation Systems) is an EU funded project aiming at encouraging a better exploitation of European Research and Innovation Programmes and participation in the European Research Area in 13 target countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia).

INSME collaborates as project partner to the initiative since its kick-off in July 2013.

To find out more about the project, please click here.

Four new Members on board!

In the continuous effort to enrich the Network with high level expertise, INSME gladly announces the collaboration with four new Members representing leading innovation institutions worldwide:

LUISS Business School

After the Global Coalition for Efficient Logistic (GCEL)/Switzerland and the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA)/South Africa, INSME warmly welcomes its third Sustaining Member: the LUISS Business School, an internationally recognized business school based in Rome/Italy. Its main aim is to contribute to the education of the next generation of leaders driving growth in Europe while promoting corporate sustainability and social entrepreneurship. Four main differentiating factors make the LUISS Business School a unique institution: a cross-sector approach among different academic fields with a special focus on Strategy and Corporate Renewal, Corporate Governance and Performance Measurement as well as Innovation and Organization Design; the promotion of an entrepreneurial spirit and development of analytical thinking applied to innovative programs; a strong international dimension to guarantee a global approach and the possibility to create a network of contacts worldwide; sustainability as an overall principle inspiring the development of teaching, learning and research methodologies.

Learn more here.

The Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount-Lebanon

INSME is delighted to kick-off the collaboration with a new Full Member, the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount-Lebanon. Its main aim is to stimulate the economic activity in all industrial sectors to contribute to the development of a strong and competitive national economy. To achieve this goal, the Chamber of Commerce works on diverse fronts: it represents the interests of the private economy, contributes to the formulation of economic policies and to the elaboration of legislation that impacts the business activity, establishes partnerships and dialogue among the business sector and government and offers a wide range of services to enterprises.

Learn more here.

Maggi Legal

INSME appreciates to announce its collaboration with Maggi Legal, a law firm based in Italy joining the network as an Observer. Maggi Legal was founded upon the initiative of Dr. Michela Maggi, a lawyer who has a wide expertise in Intellectual Property gained through years of experience as Head of the Intellectual Property Department in some of Italy’s most important firms. The Founder’s experience enabled Maggi Legal to develop an innovative methodology and approach to legal issues. Maggi Legal acts as a business partner rather than service provider and collaborates with multinationals, Italian businesses as well as entertainment, design, sports and art personalities, providing a wide range of services both in English and Italian.

Learn more here.

The Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation (JEDCO)

INSME has the pleasure to welcome another new Observer: the Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation, a public organization based in Jordan. JEDCO is an SME support institution aiming at creating a better business environment, encouraging entrepreneurship and enhancing SME competitiveness by focusing on innovation and technology. To achieve these goals, JEDCO provides an extensive set of services, ranging from providing advisory services and financial support to Jordanian entrepreneurs willing to start their businesses, to export support services to SMEs or opportunities for international traders interested in doing business with Jordan.

For any further information, please click here.

News and contributions from the INSME Members & Partners

Innovvoice: an Open Online Collaborative Ideation System involving INTRASOFT (INSME Vice President from Luxembourg) and INNOVA (INSME Member from Italy)

INTRASOFT International (INSME Vice President from Luxembourg) and INNOVA (INSME Member from Italy) are among the Partners of VOICE, an EU co-funded project mainly aiming at developing the Innovvoice platform, an open online collaborative ideation system supporting the growth of companies from the phase of ideation to idea validation and business development.

The Innovvoice platform assists individuals who have a basic business idea but lack the knowledge or the tools to further develop it. The platform offers support throughout three main phases:

  1. The Ideation Phase: the platform stimulates creativity through shared content, tutorials and discussion groups and facilitates the creation of a collaborative ideation environment through matchmaking and team-forming;
  2. The Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Creation Phase: Innovvoice contributes to the development of a product or prototype through mentorship, consultancy, test and validation and supports the team in identifying the market segments and key customer groups;
  3. The Startup and Growth Phase: the platform finally provides traditional incubation services and collaborates with online incubators, accelerators and investors.

Find out more about how to register to the online platform here.

Fundamentals for Being a Modern-Day Gladiator 101: having a Shield in the Global Marketing Arena – contribution from the European IPR Helpdesk on the INSMEblog

In this article published on the INSMEblog, the European IPR Helpdesk analyzes the initial key factor for the success of companies: commercialization. Commercializing a product may represent a challenge for companies as this process requires a wide set of skills such as R&D, manufacturing, marketing, contractual law, HR supervision and last but not least, intellectual property management. Mr. Onur Emul, IP Advisor at the Intellectual Property Institute of Luxembourg (IPIL) for the European IPR Helpdesk examines three main measures providing entrepreneurs with a strong shield from attacks to intellectual property: commercialization by the owner, assignments and licensing.

Read the whole article here and stay tuned with the INSMEblog, your window on innovation trends!

INSME's Picks in the News

G20 Leaders launch Global Partnership and Website to help advance Inclusive Business

Inclusive businesses are of paramount importance to ensure a sustainable growth for a country as they provide low-income men and women with goods and services to improve their living conditions by positioning them in their core business model. Many gaps need to be filled at the institutional, informational, and infrastructural level to achieve truly inclusive markets.

To enable a conducive environment for inclusive businesses, the Chinese 2016 G20 Presidency launched the Global Platform for Inclusive Business, a global partnership linking policy makers and businesses to analyze what role Governments can play in supporting inclusive companies through countries case studies, policy makers workshops and policy research findings.

To contribute to this initiative, the World Bank together with the United Nations Development Programme – UNDP set-up a dedicated website targeting policy makers willing to access research on specific issues related to inclusive businesses. Online courses will also be offered soon by making the platform the one-stop-shop for decision makers interested in accelerating the growth of these businesses.

Lear more here.

Hong Kong’s role as a Strategic Partner and Investor

China witnessed an impressive growth in the development of incubators, as they are considered as a fundamental venue where investors and other relevant institutions can recruit “technopreneurs”, meaning entrepreneurs who set-up a business related to technology. Furthermore, incubators are gaining ground because on the one hand they are more and more giving importance to non-financial factors and on the other hand, technopreneurs are looking for equity investors than can offer commercial and technical support. Hong Kong can play a significant role in matching such demands.

An example of this trend is the Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) park jointly developed by the Shanghai Yangpu Government and Hong Kong’s Shui On Land. The KIC provides office and business facilities and is also home to the InnoSpace Incubation Centre, a short-term incubation centre supporting technological ventures focusing on Internet/mobile applications. Innospace provides incubatees with investment services in the framework of its “incubation + investment” operation model as well as opportunities to get financed by the angel fund of Innospace itself. Incubatees resulted to be highly interested in gaining global exposure and this is the reason why they tend to network with investors that can offer commercial and technology connections at international level.

The Incubation Centre is just one among the diverse opportunities offered by Hong Kong that coupled with advanced infrastructure and strong international connections place Hong Kong in the perfect position to facilitate successful partnerships between local players and global stakeholders.

Read more here.

INSME Picks in the Web

The Promise of a Truly Entrepreneurial Society

The world is now emerging from a financial crisis lasting almost eight years and still many issues remain a major concern, such as a fragile financial system, a stagnant productivity, the increase in the levels of inequality as well as geo-political instability. To face these challenges, Mr. Richard Straub, Secretary General of the European Learning Industry Group, underlines the importance of developing a truly entrepreneurial society in which entrepreneurship and innovation are steadily applied to organizations, economy and society. The author states that this would impact significantly on the management approach as practices such as the lean startup movement or design thinking are entering the mainstream by enabling individuals to take more and more responsibility in shaping their own solutions.

Read more here.

Spontaneous versus Solution-Oriented Creativity

This article by Mr. Jeffrey Baumgartner examines two ways of coming up with ideas: spontaneous creativity and solution-oriented creativity.
The former happens when the idea comes from the inspiration of a moment or by chance, the latter is usually the result of a brainstorming to find a creative solution to a specific problem.

Both of them are equally important in a business and the author provides some tips on how to find the right balance between the two approaches by presenting some real case examples.

Find out more here.

Tenders, Calls & Consultations

Call for Applications for the 2016 Trade Promotion Organization Network Awards

The International Trade Centre – ITC (INSME Member) invites all trade support institutions recognized as the national organizations for trade promotion to submit their applications to the 2016 Trade Promotion Organizations (TPOs) Network Awards.

The Awards aim at recognizing excellence and encourage the sharing of best practices in three types of TPO initiatives: export promotion, export development and corporate social responsibility initiatives. According to the United Nations classification system, TPOs have to apply under one of the following country categories: Least Developed Countries, Developing Countries and Developed Countries.

The winner will be a TPO from each category that best demonstrated its contribution to the national economy by presenting its unique and innovative approach to supporting the internationalization of SMEs.

Winners will be announced during the gala dinner of the Awards Ceremony taking place on the 24th and 25th of November in Marrakech, Morocco.

All interested candidates are invited to submit their applications by the 16th of June 2016.

Please click here for more information.

"Keys to Japan" - Compete for Sponsorship of your Market Entry Plan for Japan

The EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation (INSME Member from Japan) offers support to selected SMEs from EU Member countries or COSME Third Countries willing to market a product or service in Japan by developing a personalized entry plan for them.

Three plans worth €10,000 each are prepared annually by the Japan Market Expansion Competition (JMEC):

  • one plan is dedicated to end-user applications or receiver technology using Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS);
  • the remaining two can be prepared for any relevant industrial or consumer product or service.

EU Member State or COSME Third Country citizens at least 20 years old and working as Managers for an SME headquartered in the EU or in a COSME Third Country can submit their applications.

The deadline for submitting applications for the next round is the 31st of July (to be confirmed).

For any further information, please click here.

The European Enterprise Promotion Awards

The European Commission launched the European Enterprise Promotion Awards to recognize initiatives promoting entrepreneurship and small businesses at national, regional and local level.

National organisations, towns, cities, regions and communities, as well as public-private partnerships between public authorities and entrepreneurs, educational programmes and business organisations from all EU countries plus Iceland, Serbia and Turkey can submit their applications in one of the following six categories: promoting the entrepreneurial spirit; investing in entrepreneurial skills; improving the business environment; supporting the internationalization of business; supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency and responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship.

The selection process consists of two main phases. Applicants will have to compete first at national level. Following the national competition, each country will nominate two entries to participate at European level.

Winners will receive the Grand Jury Prize that will be announced on the 24th of November during the SME Assembly 2016 in Bratislava, Slovakia.

The deadline to submit applications for the national competition differs from country to country.

Please check the page at this link to contact the national representatives and learn more on the procedure to take part in the initiative.

Interesting Initiatives

H2020 SME Innovation Associate: matching SMEs and talented researchers

Under the EU Research and Innovation Framework Programme 'Horizon 2020', the European Commission launched a pilot action: the H2020 SME Innovation Associate Programme to connect European SMEs and Startups with post-doctoral research associates from other countries to support the development of an innovative business idea.

The Scheme provides companies with support in terms of international visibility by posting the job vacancies on the EU's researcher mobility portal EURAXESS, financial support covering salary and the related costs of employment of the associate as well as a complete and parallel training package targeting the PhD and the supervisors in the companies.

SMEs and startup companies from EU Member States and Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) or countries associated to Horizon 2020 and researchers who have reached at least R2 level in the European Framework for Research Careers are eligible to apply.

The deadline for applications is the 30th of June 2016.

To learn more on how to get involved, please click here.


Time to Act: Latin America and the Caribbean facing Strong Challenges

Latin America and Caribbean countries are facing a challenging situation given the slow global recovery and the lower commodity prices that are likely to remain at the current levels. Presumably growth rates of the region will remain low in the upcoming years and action is urgently needed to protect and consolidate the important achievements the region reached so far. This report released by the Inter-American Development Bank provides support to policymakers by considering specific ideas to improve growth potential.

According to the report, improving export conditions seem to be one of the major concern for countries willing to boost potential growth. Policymakers are suggested to promote policies including export promotion activities and actions to reduce domestic transport costs and improve logistics. By presenting four main methodologies, the report also suggests governments to best allocate their scarce resources on sectors that are more likely to have an impact on growth. Moreover deepening the integration process by harmonizing the fragmented framework of trade agreements in the region may allow countries to compete in global markets against larger countries or free trade areas.

Learn more here.

The 2016 Startup Nation Scoreboard

This policy brief on “The 2016 Startup Nation Scoreboard: How European Union Countries are Improving Policy Frameworks and Developing Powerful Ecosystems for Entrepreneurs” aims at assessing the progress of the Startup Manifesto, a roadmap including 22 priority actions to stimulate the discussion around the startup ecosystem and digital-era performance in the EU Members States that have been drafted by 9 successful European entrepreneurs back in 2013. The Startup Manifesto provides recommendations on five main areas: educations & skills; access to talent; access to capital; data, policy protection and privacy and thought leaderships.

The 2016 Startup Nation Scoreboard reports that the country that adopted most of the recommendations listed in the Manifesto is the Netherlands with an 85% of adoption rate, followed by Italy (82%), the United Kingdom (77%) and Ireland (72%).

Thought Leadership is the theme that showed the highest adoption rate with 74% of actions put in place, mainly including awareness raising campaigns promoting an entrepreneurship-friendly environment.

It is also worth to point out that there is a significant east-west divide within the EU mainly due to the incomplete process of EU initiatives in some new EU Member States and lower adoption rate of specific initiatives dedicated to startups.

Learn more here.

Recommended Website

The European Investment Project Portal

In the framework of the Investment Plan for Europe, the European Commission launched the European Investment Project Portal to connect EU-based project promoters both in the public and private sector with potential investors worldwide.

The portal offers international visibility to projects from a wide range of sectors that must have a total cost of at least € 10 million. Moreover to be eligible, the project must be promoted by a public or private legal entity based in an EU country and start within three years from submission.

The portal also works as the to-go platform for investors looking for new opportunities enabling them to find the right project by using advanced search and filtering criteria and automatic notifications.

Learn more on how to publish your project here.

Recommended Newsletter

The Innovation Growth Lab Newsletter – supporting innovation, entrepreneurship and growth

The Innovation Growth Lab (IGL) is a joint international initiative carried out by several public and private organizations worldwide and led by NESTA, aiming at developing new methodologies and approaches to support business growth and cultivating an innovation-driven economy.

The rational of the IGL lies on the understanding that in order to make innovation prosper, public and private organizations and innovative companies need to make more use of randomized trials to find out what is functional and what is not and learn from their successful experience.

Innovation Growth Lab issues a newsletter to keep readers up to date on useful resources, evidence emerging from randomized trials and funding opportunities supporting high-growth entrepreneurship.

To subscribe to the newsletter, please click here.


Highlighted events

Committee on Innovation, Competitiveness and Public-Private Partnerships

From the 23rd to the 25th of May 2016
Geneva, Switzerland

Organized by UNECE

From the 23rd to the 25th of May 2016, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (INSME Member) organizes the 10th edition of the Committee on Innovation, Competitiveness and Public-Private Partnerships in Geneva, Switzerland.

Throughout the sessions, panelists will examine how the Economic Commission for Europe‘s updated guiding principles for Good Governance in Public and Private Partnerships support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with a special attention to the implications for people, the planet and prosperity. Furthermore the session will analyze how national priorities for sustainable development can be achieved through the implementation of innovation policies.

The participation to the event is free of charge. For any further information about the provisional agenda, please click here.

Future international meetings, workshops, seminars selected by INSME

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 11th to the 12th of May 2016
EBRD Annual Meeting and Business Forum
Organized by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
London, United Kingdom

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

12th of May 2016
Smart Specialisation and Regional Innovation: Lessons for policy and practice
Organized by SmartSpec Project
Brussels, Belgium

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

From the 25th to the 27th of May 2016
Scale-up for Europe
Organized by EBAN (INSME Member)
Porto, Portugal

From the 25th to the 27th of May 2016
Astp-Proton Annual Conference on “Making a difference through Knowledge Transfer”
Organized by Astp-Proton
Copenhagen, Denmark

From the 30th to the 31st of May 2016
ANIMA Annual Meeting
Organized by ANIMA Investment Network (INSME Member) and Malta Enterprise
Valletta, Malta

From the 15th to the 18th of June 2016
ICSB World Conference
Organized by the International Council for Small Business (INSME Member)
New Jersey/New York, USA

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 18th to the 21st of July 2016
World Investment Forum 2016
Organized by UNCTAD (INSME Member)
Nairobi, Kenya

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