Issue N° 151 - February 2017
The non-members subscribers will receive this newsletter at least two weeks after its official launch

In this Issue:


Contact the editorial staff

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

Dear INSMEnews Readers,

welcome to the February issue of the INSME newsletter!

This month the newsletter features key insights from two main reports: the World Economic Situation Prospects 2017 points out the slowdown of SMEs productivity and their lower rate of innovation, while the OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Outlook 2016, besides other megatrends identified, looks at the impact of the increasing fragmentation of Global Value Chains on science and technology.

These highly relevant themes will also shape the agenda of the upcoming 13th INSME Annual Meeting on “Improving Productivity in SMEs and Their Role in Global Value Chains” taking place from the 15th to the 17th of May 2017 at Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

While you enjoy reading this issue of the INSME newsletter, I hope you will consider joining us in Puerto Vallarta for a three-day event covering a full spectrum of innovation support for SMEs!



Giovanni Zazzerini

INSME Secretary General



Subscribe to INSMEnews and you will receive it via e-mail as soon as it is available for non-Members (at least two weeks after its official launch).

Follow us also on Twitter and LinkedIn !


Supporting organisations:


Sustaining Members:



Updates on the life of the INSME Network

Stay Tuned and do not miss the Updates about the 13th INSME Annual Meeting!

From the 15th to the 17th of May 2017 Puerto Vallarta, Mexico will be the heart of an engaging and constructive debate on the opportunities and challenges related to SMEs participation in global value chains between policy makers from host country Mexico, OAS (Organization of American States) member countries, INSME innovation experts and entrepreneurs (from SMEs and MNEs). The 13th INSME Annual Meeting’s overarching topic “Improving Productivity in SMEs and Their Role in Global Value Chains” will be tackled through a concrete approach, by presenting international good practices and experiences that have the potential to be replicated in other countries.

The exchange of knowledge among INSME Members and prominent innovation experts will be further empowered through formal and informal networking opportunities, enabling INSME Members to identify relevant partners for the creation of strategic collaborations.

To increase your international visibility, INSME invites you to consider playing an active role in the 13th INSME Annual Meeting and participating in the related call for papers. There still time to submit your contribution as the deadline has been extended to the 8th of March 2017. Selected applicants will have the chance to present their work to an executive-level audience coming from different countries. Find out more in the guidance note at this link.

The INSME Team together with the co-organizer of the initiative INADEM is looking forward to welcoming you in Mexico for the 2017 must-attend event.

For any further information about the initiative, please contact

The 13th Year of a Successful Story: Happy Birthday INSME!

On the 17th of February INSME turned 13 and a promising future of new initiatives and added value for its Members is ahead. INSME continues on the path of increasing the competitiveness of SMEs through supporting intermediaries and multipliers in improving their services in the field of innovation and technology transfer.

By looking back at 2016, 7 new Members joined the Association and enriched the expertise at the disposal of the whole Network. In addition to the 13th INSME Annual Meeting and the well-established webinars of the INSMEAcademy, in 2017 further international project involvement will intensify the cooperation between INSME Members and will enable them to create stable linkages with relevant players worldwide as well as keep track of the newest trends on the innovation panorama.

To develop key skills that impact on the organization’s competitiveness, in 2017 the INSME Team would like INSME Members to consider the opportunity of organizing a capacity building initiative: a tailor-made training customized to Members’ interests and needs by drawing on the extremely diversified INSME expert portfolio. In case you would like to learn more about this possibility please contact the INSME Secretariat at this e-mail.

In case you are not an INSME Member yet but would like to take part in this stimulating and global network of innovation practitioners, please find more information about how to join us at this page.

News and contributions from the INSME Members

INTRASOFT International (INSME Board Member from Luxembourg) supports the MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) Startup Competition 2017

INTRASOFT International (INSME Board Member from Luxembourg) - a leading European IT solutions and services group with an international outreach - will support the MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) Startup Competition 2017 as a Gold Sponsor in Greece with the ultimate goal of enabling the creation, growth and global market entry of technology start-ups as well as other entrepreneurial ventures.

The competition offers mentorship and specialized workshops allowing participants to gain practical business knowledge and skills. Specifically INTRASOFT International will welcome one of the ten finalists of the competition at its premises to provide him/her with business and technology focused guidance and consulting in line with the team’s activities as well as business communication services and specialist consultancy services (on administration, legal and financial issues and human resources management). Furthermore INTRASOFT will also provide grants for the participation to a European conference and networking initiatives with customers in one of the regions where the company runs its activities.

Find out more about INTRASOFT and the MIT Enterprise Forum Greece here.

The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (INSME Member from Kuwait) promotes Academic and Research Cooperation between Kuwait University and the University of California, Berkeley

The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences – KFAS (INSME Member from Kuwait) recently welcomed a delegation of students from the Department of Architecture of the Kuwait University who participated in an international exchange programme – the so-called joint Design Studio – with the University of California, Berkeley. The cooperation between students of the two universities resulted in innovative architectural designs for the Foundation’s new building, that were presented on the occasion of a meeting held in January.

The joint Design Studio is part of a series of activities carried out under the umbrella of an agreement signed by the University of California, Berkeley and KFAS on behalf of the Kuwait University allowing students to research the cultural foundations of various arts and sciences as well as raising awareness on the importance of multiculturalism to stimulate creativity.

Find out more about the initiative and have a look at the pictures taken during the meeting at this link.

Enhance your Skills on Innovation Management with the Training Courses offered by IMP³rove Academy (INSME Member from Germany)

A recent analysis by IMP³rove Academy (INSME Member from Germany) shows the significant benefits of design thinking to companies’ performance, among them:

  • Improvement of firm or brand image;
  • Enhanced customer experience;
  • Increase in sales from products/services.

In order for companies to take the most out of the design thinking processes, IMP³rove Academy is offering a series of training courses to enhance the skills of innovation practitioners on design thinking and other topics related to innovation management to be held in the month of April.

The training courses are meant to be highly interactive and will include group discussions as well as role plays to gain a complete understanding of the most concrete ways to increase the competitiveness of companies. IMP³rove Academy also provides the possibility to organize in-house trainings and customized workshops.

For further information about the upcoming training courses, please click here.

To learn more about IMP³rove Academy, please have a look at its website here.

Sharakah (INSME Member from Oman) received the Golden Plate of Excellence in the field of social responsibility from the Arab Organization for Social Responsibility

The Arab Organization for Social Responsibility is a non-governmental organization working with member countries of the Arab League to recognize successful examples of social responsibility. On this occasion the Arab Organization for Social Responsibility awarded INSME Member from Oman, Sharakah with one of the most prestigious prizes in the field: the Golden Plate of Excellence in the field of social responsibility.

Sharakah has been identified as a best practice for the clear visibility of the concept of social responsibility in the organization’s objectives, for its participation in activities related to social responsibility and for encouraging the establishment and growth of small and medium enterprises in Oman and in this way, further enhancing the national economy from a socio-economic perspective.

Learn more about the Award here and find out more about Sharakah and its activities at this link.

INSME's Picks in the News

European Commission presents new initiatives and reports on the delivery and progress of key initiatives of the Circular Economy Plan

A more circular economy proved to be beneficial for both Europe and its citizens (“A circular economy should see a departure from the current "take, make and dispose" approach that underlines much of modern civilisation. Instead, in the circular economy model, durable goods would be designed so that they could be repaired rather than replaced and biological materials would be managed so that they could be returned to the biosphere without contamination” – Find out more at this page). A sound business case shows evidence that it enables companies to become more competitive, it encourages social integration through job creation, and it impacts on lowering energy consumption.

On the 2nd of December 2015, the European Commission adopted a circular economy package including diverse legislative proposals on waste as well as an Action Plan to support the circular economy in each step of the value chain. A report recently released by the EC aims at providing an overview of activities that have already been undertaken since the adoption of this package and key deliverables for 2017. Among the key initiatives foreseen for the current year, the Commission committed to deliver a Plastic Strategy to improve the economics, quality and uptake of plastic recycling and reuse. Furthermore the Commission will provide an in-depth analysis of the legal, technical or practical problems related to chemical, product and waste legislation that may work as an obstacle to the transition of recycled materials into the productive economy.

These are just a few of the actions that will be implemented to make the circular economy a reality, to find out more please read the report here.


Innovation as the Key Component of the Winning Strategy for SME growing – Read the latest post of the INSMEblog!

SMEs nowadays need to deal with the challenges related to globalization and its implications for economies such as highly competitive market places, transnational flows of expertise, technologies and services. In this article, Rubén Darío Cruz, Chief Innovation Officer at the Center for Research and Technological Development of the Power Industry - CIDET (an organization from Colombia) examines the elements that constitute a winning strategy for SMEs to grow, these are:

  • Clients: taking clients’ needs and expectations into consideration is vital to increase sales and attract new customers;
  • People: managing human resources and building a pool of talent is crucial to achieve SMEs’ goals;
  • Investment: in many cases, growth is deeply linked to the resources invested in the business;
  • Innovation: designing and developing new products and processes is key for SMEs to remain competitive and add value to their clients.

These four elements need to be combined with other two fundamental issues: information meaning with that the implementation of a good Financial Management Information System; and change management referring to the ability to understand and recognize the need to transform the business in due time to implement new practices enabling the SME to grow.

Find out more tips on how to design a winning strategy for growing SMEs here.

About IPR…in South East Asia

Using Contracts to Protect IP in South-East Asia: Non-disclosure and Employment Agreements

The most common way to protect intellectual property is through its registration in relevant jurisdictions to subsequently enforce that IP right against infringing third parties. However there are alternatives to protect IP on a commercial level. This article by the South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk provides advices on how to use non-disclosure agreements, memoranda of understanding and employment contracts with South-East Asian partners to achieve this purpose.

Read more details in the article at this link.

Tenders, Calls & Consultations

The 1st Call for Project Proposals of the ENI CBC “Black Sea Basin Joint Operational Programme 2014-2020” recently launched

The Black Sea Cross Border Cooperation has launched the 1st call for project proposals in the frame of the ENI CBC “Black Sea Basin Joint Operational Programme 2014-2020”.

With the aim to contribute to all Programme thematic objectives and priorities, the call will welcome diverse proposals focused on the promotion of business and entrepreneurship within the Black Sea Basin Area.

In this frame two priorities have been identified:

  • jointly promote business and entrepreneurship in the tourism and cultural sectors;
  • increase cross-border trade opportunities and modernisation in the agricultural and connected sectors.

Selected projects are expected to encourage:

  • enhanced cross-border contacts within the Black Sea Basin including networking, forums and the establishment of lasting partnerships;
  • enhanced knowledge and skills including the exchange of experience and good practice, innovation, capacity-building and joint research;
  • concrete and visible outputs such as small scale investments, pilot projects, information and communication technologies shared tools, online open-access resources.

In order to be eligible for a grant, Lead and Project Partners must be regional, local or national public authorities; bodies governed by public law, non-profit organizations based in the eligible area of the programme.

The ENI grant will cover a maximum of 92% of the total eligible costs and the total amount available is ca. €20 millions.

The deadline for submissions is the 31st of May 2017.

More information about the call is available at this page or by contacting the following e-mail address.

iCAN - the 2nd International Invention Innovation Competition in Canada

The Toronto International Society of Innovation & Advanced Skills (TISIAS) is promoting the 2nd edition of iCAN, the International Invention Innovation Competition, a global exhibition offering the opportunity to showcase creative inventions, innovative projects and scientific research outcomes to an international audience gathering in Toronto, Canada on the 26th of August 2017.

Interested innovators/inventors/students/professors/research scientists are invited to send their applications by the 15th of June 2017.

Applicants will have the chance to be selected for:

  • The Preliminary Awards: a recognition to the best applications received and consisting of a gold/silver/bronze medal and a certificate;
  • The Final Round Top Awards: based on inventions and posters presented at the exhibition. Winners will be awarded with the iCAN 2017 Grand Prize; The Semi-Grand Prize; IFIA Best Invention Award; WIIPA Best Invention Award.

Submissions will be evaluated according to creativity and innovation, level of technology, practicality and usability, effect and marketability, future prospective.

Find out more about iCAN 2017 and download the application form and guide at this page.

ISPIM Grand Prize 2017

After the successful 2016’s edition recognizing Orange and Huawei among others, ISPIM (INSME Member from UK) has launched the ISPIM Grand Prize 2017. Companies and not-for-profit organizations are invited to submit their entries by the 21st of April 2017 to present initiatives that have significantly improved their innovative performances.

Submissions will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • How ambitious and difficult the innovation opportunity addressed was;
  • How ingenious and novel the innovation initiative's approach was;
  • How impressive the results are and how big the impact is.

Three finalists will be selected to compete for the top spot with presentations in front of a voting audience of ca. 400 innovation experts gathering on the occasion of the 2017 ISPIM Innovation Conference. In addition, other applicants who impress the judges will be invited to present at the Vienna conference on a special industry track.

Detailed information is available at the following page.

Interesting Initiatives

The European Investment Fund and the European Commission launch New Capacity Building Initiative for Micro-Credit and Social Finance Providers

The Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) programme is a EU financing instrument promoting a high level of quality and sustainable employment, guaranteeing adequate and decent social protection, combating social exclusion and poverty and improving working conditions.

In this frame the European Commission and the European Investment Fund – EIF (INSME Member) have recently announced the “EaSI Capacity Building Investments Window”, an initiative that will support selected financial intermediaries in opening new branches, investing in human resources, developing a new IT tool through equity investments.

The initiative is expected to reinforce the ecosystem for microfinance and social entrepreneurship and boost EU’s efforts in promoting investment, growth and jobs.

Read more here.


OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Outlook 2016

Today’s world is affected by disruptive and fast changes that will impact significantly our future life. Many factors will shape R&D agendas, among them ageing societies, climate changes, health challenges and growing digitalization. These are among the topics included in the OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Outlook 2016 that analyses the ‘megatrends’ that will influence global economy, the financing of innovation and current and future state of STI.

Ten key emerging technology trends – covering big data, Internet of Things, nanomaterials among others – are also presented and analysed both for their disruptive impact and the risks linked to them.

The publication offers an overview on future trends in science policies over a 10-15 year horizon and a comparative analysis of policies and instruments adopted in OECD countries and some emerging economies (namely Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, the Russian Federation and South Africa) to boost the contribution of science and innovation to growth and to global and social challenges.

This year’s edition also includes detailed country and policy profiles available online.

To find out more about the issues treated by the report and to access the data available for each country please click here.

World Economic Situation Prospects 2017

The World Economic Situation and Prospect Report (WESP) is a UN's flagship publication on expected trends in the global economy released since 70 years.

According to the report the world economy expanded by just 2.2% in 2016, the slowest rate of growth since the Great Recession of 2009 and although a modest global recovery is forecasted for 2017-2018, the slow growth period cannot be considered overcome. These moderate positive expectations for 2017/18 have to be considered more as an indication of economic stabilization than as a signal of a robust and sustained revival of global demand.

The report also states that emerging economies continue to be key drivers of global growth, contributing for about 60% of the world’s gross product growth in 2016-18 and it highlights that East and South Asia confirm themselves as the most dynamic regions benefitting from robust domestic demand and supportive macroeconomic policies.

Weak investments are identified as one of the most important causes of slowdown in global economy and the report puts the attention on the importance of investments in new capital as a driver of technological change and efficiency gains. Investments in key areas, such as research and development, education and infrastructure, can support productivity growth and also contribute to promote social and environmental progress.

Discover more findings by reading the whole publication at this page.

Recommended Website

TCdata360 – a new Trade & Competitiveness Data Platform by the World Bank

The World Bank Group has recently launched a new platform including and aggregating publicly available data from over 20 sources. The newly launched website addresses policy makers, development practitioners, academics and citizens with the aim to help them to better understand critical issues and policies in the areas of trade, investment, innovation and general economy. Users can: browse and filter data across 1,800 indicators, customize their own visualizations, share their visualizations through social media and download raw data. Among the features of the platform, users are allowed to:

  • View data at country, topic, or indicator level
  • View current and historical data to identify trends and gaps
  • Download data from multiple sources
  • Use embedded tools to create and share data visualizations
  • Compare indicators across countries and over time
  • Analyze data and find their own insights in the growing 'data sciences' section.

Find out more about the TCdata360 developed by the Bank Group’s Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice at this page.

Recommended Newsletter

The Compete Caribbean Newsletter

Compete Caribbean is a program jointly funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the Government of Canada supporting projects in 15 Caribbean countries.

The program is mainly focused on reaching:

  • an increased consensus and focus on strategic interventions to promote private sector development;
  • an improved enabling environment for business development, trade and integration;
  • enhanced capacity of clusters and firms to increase productivity and to sustainably compete in national, regional and global markets.

Compete Caribbean releases a newsletter that offers subscribers the chance to access insightful and updated information including publications, events, calls and courses involving the Latin American Region.

Visit this page to subscribe to the newsletter.


Highlighted events

62nd ICSB World Conference

28th June – 1st July 2017
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Under the topic “Towards a new world mobilized by entrepreneurship & innovative SMEs” the 62nd International Council for Small Business - ICSB (INSME Member from the U.S.) World Conference will explore how entrepreneurship and innovation can play a key role in the fourth industrial revolution that is going to modify the way we live and work. The Conference to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina from the 28th of June to the 1st of July 2017 will gather researchers, academics, practitioners to initiate a stimulating debate around diverse topics among which:

  • Methodological challenges and new research methods applied to SME and Entrepreneurship research
  • Urban and regional perspectives on SMEs & Entrepreneurship
  • Social innovation, sustainable & social entrepreneurship
  • Entrepreneurial finance for new and growing SMEs
  • SME growth, performance and internationalization
  • Entrepreneurship & SME Policy, Ecosystems and National Innovation systems
  • Entrepreneurship and SMEs in developing regions (with a focus on Latin America).

Find out more about the Conference by visiting the dedicated website.

top of the page

Future international meetings, workshops, seminars selected by INSME

From the 2nd to the 4th of March 2017
The 2nd Istanbul International Inventions Fair
Honorary Patronage of the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology, under the patronage of International Federation of Inventors' Association (IFIA), hosted by Turkish Patent and Trademark Office (TPE), organised by Anatolia Inventions and Inventors Association and supported by World Intellectual Property Organization – WIPO (INSME Member).
Istanbul, Turkey

From the 13th to the 16th of March 2017
Global Entrepreneurship Congress Johannesburg
Organized by the Global Entrepreneurship Network, the Kauffman Foundation, SEA Africa and the City of Johannesburg
Johannesburg, South Africa

On the 21st of March 2017
Cultural and Creative Industries in Europe - Maximising the Contribution of Culture towards Social and Economic Development
Organized by Public Policy Exchange
Brussels, Belgium

From the 23rd to the 24th of March 2017
TII Dialogue: Energize.Commercialize.Internationalize.
Organized by TII
Vaasa, Finland

From the 27th to the 29th of March 2017
Organized by EAI
Marrakech, Morocco

From the 4th to the 6th of April 2017
The International Triple Helix Summit
Organized by Triple Helix Association (INSME Member)
Nairobi, Kenya

From the 19th to the 20th of April 2017
The 8th Annual Internet of Things European Summit
Organized by Forum Europe
Brussels, Belgium

From the 20th to the 21st of April 2017
1st EAI International Conference on Technology, Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Education
Organized by the European Alliance for Innovation (INSME Member)
Canterbury, United Kingdom

From the 20th to the 21st of April 2017
China Intellectual Property and Innovation Summit 2017
Organized by CONWAYS
Shanghai, China

From the 26th to the 28th of April 2017
2017 Angel Capital Association Summit
Organized by Angel Capital Association – ACA
San Francisco, USA

From the 15th to the 17th of May 2017
13th INSME Annual Meeting on “Improving Productivity in SMEs and Their Role in Global Value Chains”
Organized by INSME and INADEM (INSME Member)
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

From the 16th to the 19th of May 2017
20th Moscow International Inventions and Innovative Technology Salon «ARCHIMEDES»
Organized by "InnovExpo", LLC
Moscow, Russia

From the 7th to the 9th of June 2017
EBAN Annual Congress
Organized by the European Business Angels Network
Malaga, Spain

top of the page

You are receiving this Newsletter because you are included in our mailing list of recipients who are involved or interested in INSME.
Please feel free to forward this Newsletter to others you think might find it interesting and useful.
You are also welcome to partly or fully reproduce and disseminate the contents of this publication
provided that you acknowledge the source.
To subscribe/unsubscribe to the INSME Newsletter, please visit the page

INSMEnews is edited by the INSME Secretariat. We welcome contributions as well as comments and suggestions.
For enquiries please contact the INSME Secretariat at
Previous editions of INSMEnews are available at

INSME Secretariat
Via Giosué Carducci 4
00187 Rome, Italy
Phone: +39 06-68806803


Join us on Follow us on