Issue N° 152 - March 2017
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Updates on the life of the INSME Network

The 13th INSME Annual Meeting: join the event dedicated to knowledge building and networking for innovation practitioners and policy makers

Everything is almost set for the 13th INSME Annual Meeting that will be part of a bigger event dedicated to entrepreneurship and SMEs and involving the OECD (INSME Moral Sponsor), the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Latin American and Caribbean Economic System (SELA).

The conference theme ‘Improving Productivity in SMEs and Their Role in Global Value Chains’ will be the red thread that will guide the discussion among innovation practitioners, policy makers, entrepreneurs, representatives from business support organizations and academia who will enrich the diverse sessions and initiatives with their valuable and diverse points of view.

Excellent networking opportunities will be designed for INSME Members who will have the chance to benefit from unique B2B meetings enabling them to put the basis for the establishment of new project and business opportunities.

Worth to be mentioned is the exhibition set up in the venue of the event, the Puerto Vallarta Convention Centre: an international showcase to promote Member organizations for free, their initiatives and projects as well as a further occasion to create fruitful connections with the diversified audience attending the Mexican week dedicated to SMEs.

Last but not least, please be informed that the local partner, the National Institute of Entrepreneurs – INADEM (INSME Member), has negotiated advantageous rates for your accommodation in Puerto Vallarta. For any further information please visit the official website or contact the INSME Secretariat at

Together with our co-host from Mexico we are looking forward to welcoming all of you to Puerto Vallarta – State of Jalisco, Mexico from the 15th to the 17th of May!

Year after year, INSME Annual Meetings confirm themselves as a unique networking occasion. You might become the protagonist of this success story by hosting the next Annual Meeting in your country. Please do not hesitate to contact the INSME Secretariat to discuss further the chance to host the 2018 event.

The INSMEAcademy enriched by a valuable contribution from UNCTAD

The INSMEAcademy is well recognized as one of the diamond tips of the INSME portfolio of services. Emergent topics and trends, high level experts together with a diversified audience including stakeholders and practitioners from all over the world are the ingredients of a recipe highly appreciated by the INSME Community. Following the precious support of Mr. Massimo Deandreis, General Manager at SRM – Economic Research Center related with Intesa Sanpaolo Banking Group (INSME Sustaining Member) and President of the Italian Society of Business Economists – GEI, who contributed in February to a very enriching session on “Geo-economic changes and emergent players in maritime economy and logistics: impact on SMEs strategies”, INSME is now proud to count on the contribution of Mrs. Fiorina Mugione, Chief of the Entrepreneurship Section - Division on Investment and Enterprise at the United Nations Conference on Trade And Development – UNCTAD (INSME Member).

On the 30th of March, the presentation on “Promoting Entrepreneurship: UNCTAD’s Policy Approach to Support Sustainable Business Growth” will explore good practices from the UNCTAD’s Entrepreneurship Policy Framework (EPF) and represent a unique chance to deepen how support measures can help entrepreneurs in growing and managing their businesses, in particular those from disadvantaged groups.

Interested participants can have a look at the abstract of the session here or register to attend for free by contacting the INSME Secretariat at the following e-mail address.

News and contributions from the INSME Members

ANIMA Investment Network collaborates to the DiafrikInvest project

A new project funded by the European Union through EuropeAid and implemented within the frame of the Euro-African Dialogue on Migration and Development (Rabat Process) has been kicked off in February 2017. DiafrikInvest involves six partners, among which ANIMA Investment Network (INSME Member from France) that will develop a wide range of initiatives to support the development of entrepreneurial activities that are expected to have a significant impact on Moroccan, Tunisian and Senegalese diasporas. The project also intends to give a contribution to the development of new strategies for economic diaspora. In particular the actions developed in the frame of DiafrikInvest will help local entrepreneurs to strengthen their skills and to access financing through a dedicated crowdfunding platform. Furthermore business owners will also be trained to exploit the opportunity to participate in dedicated “Investment Academies” in which they will have the chance to present their projects to investors from Europe and Africa and business angels.

DiafrikInvest will last three years during which about 40 activities for local and diaspora entrepreneurs, business angels and public institutions from Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia will be carried out.

Read more here.

2016 Larta Institute Annual Report and Success Stories

Larta Institute (INSME Board Member from the USA) has released a valuable annual report that offers an interesting overview on its achievements and successes of the last year.

Thanks to its ‘network-centric’ approach, over the last 23 years Larta has been working to promote the commercialization of research. 2016 has been an intense year. Worth to be mentioned is the Tibbets Award received by the U.S. Small Business Administration for the contribution to the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) programmes, in particular for the key role played in one of the main goals of the SBA program: increasing the commercialization of federally-funded research.

This year’s Annual Report also includes a series of success stories from the portfolio of companies Larta supported, among which Local Crowd, a business bringing crowdfunding technology and education to local and rural communities as an economic development tool.

Have a look at the results and read more about Larta’s approach aiming at transforming good and innovative ideas into solutions that contribute to create economic opportunities and a fertile environment for better life conditions all around the world.

The report is available here.

Benefits of Design Thinking for Firms: an analysis from IMP³rove Academy 

IMP³rove Academy (INSME Member from Germany) has recently released an analysis on the benefits of design thinking for firms based on its innovation management benchmarking database.

The analysis shows how Design Thinking (‘Design thinking can be described as a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity’ Tim Brown) has a strong impact on both financial and non-financial innovation results, but companies and business advisors often do not exploit design thinking at the maximum extent. Among the findings included in the analysis it is worth mentioning that SMEs need to be provided with the necessary skills in design thinking, but prior to this CEOs should understand what design thinking is and how it can be integrated in the innovation management system.

SMEs as well as business advisors need to be trained in order to have a deeper knowledge of this topic enabling them to apply design thinking to innovation processes and by doing so, to exploit it to reach innovation targets and implement innovation management systems.

An effective support programme for SMEs to develop their design thinking skills for better innovation results has been created by IMP³rove Academy. A series of opportunities to foster design thinking in innovation eco-system have been established, among which initiatives:

You may find more information here or by contacting the following e-mail address.

INSME's Picks in the News

Canada announces Innovation Investments to drive Economic Prosperity of the Country

In order to support economic growth across the country the Canadian Government is promoting a series of investments and policy recommendations to support universities, entrepreneurs and unlock capital for startups.

Among the investments announced:

  • the investment promoted by the Canada Foundation for Innovation supporting 17 key national facilities that cover a broad range of research disciplines with $328 million;
  • through the Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) the Canadian Government will dedicate $2 billion over three years to higher education with a particular attention to the institutions that carry on activities related to entrepreneurship, research and innovation;
  • the government will also launch a Smart City Challenge to demonstrate and scale up Canadian IT innovations in one or more Canadian cities to show how IT can be linked with physical infrastructure to deliver business and public benefits.

Furthermore the Canadian Council on Economic Growth has recently released a set of recommendations that intends to reinforce the country’s economic potential by unlocking innovation to drive growth, create a high skilled workforce and strengthen Canada’s trading partnerships.

More information about the investments and measures Canada is adopting to foster economic growth is available here.

INSME Interview & INSMEblog

Trial and error is the best strategy in a complex environment”. Read the interview with Dr. Herbert Vogler from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Munich and Oberbayern

INSME has recently interviewed Dr. Herbert Vogler, Head of Innovation at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Munich and Oberbayern, Germany. Dr. Vogler shared his views on innovation and highlighted the importance of ‘the good example’ top managers could give to their employees.

According to his experience, Dr. Vogler also emphasized that innovative companies have to be ‘open’ as inspiration and good ideas often come from outside a company, may be from competitors or consumers. He also added that in today’s complex environment it is crucial to embrace failure to be successful and remain competitive.

Read more insights from the interview to Dr. Vogler here.

COMPETITIVE ROMANIA – Key Macroeconomic Indicators 2007-2016. A contribution by the Romanian Ministry for Business Environment, Trade and Entrepreneurship for the INSMEblog

A contribution by Mr. Florin – Ioan Rosu, Head of Unit at the Romanian Ministry for Business Environment, Trade and Entrepreneurship (INSME Member) has been recently published on the INSMEblog.

The article includes a detailed overview on the main economic indicators and performances registered by the country in the years 2007-2016 – the 53rd in most competitive nation in the world according to 2015-2016 edition of the Global Competitiveness Report - and offers a valuable analysis of the most important challenges Romania has faced and the ones the country needs to overcome. A project promoted by the Romanian Government is also presented: “Competitive Romania” has been launched at the beginning of July 2016 and has the main aim to stimulate economic growth from 3% to 5% through a more efficient management of factors like capital, labour and productivity. The post also highlights that crucial prerequisites of economic growth are the ability to innovate and to be as more responsive as possible to the requirements of the EU Internal Market.

Read more and leave your comment at this link.

About IPR…in South East Asia

Explaining the New Regulations of Foreign Contractor Withholding Tax on Trade Marks in Vietnam

An official letter has been recently issued by the Vietnamese Ministry of Finance, providing detailed guidance on foreign contractor withholding tax (FCWT) applicable to income of foreign contractors from transfer of right to use a trade mark. This letter stimulated an intense debate among foreign and local businesses as it does not seem to be entirely in line with the Vietnamese law on Value Added Tax - VAT. In this article, Mr. Son Doan, IPR expert at the South East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk, shares his views on this issue.

To learn more about this topic, please find some key points here.

Tenders, Calls & Consultations

The European Enterprise Promotion Awards

Successful initiatives supporting entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) implemented by public and private organizations from across the EU Member States, as well as Iceland, Serbia and Turkey are welcome to participate to the 2017 edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards.

Applications must fall into one of the following categories:

  • promoting the entrepreneurial spirit, with a special attention to young people and women communities;
  • investing in entrepreneurial skills;
  • improving the business environment;
  • supporting the internationalization of business;
  • supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency;
  • promoting responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship.

Winners will have the occasion to showcase their excellence during an award ceremony taking place on the 23rd of November in Tallin, Estonia at the SME Assembly, in the wider context of the European SME Week.

Deadlines for submitting applications for the first stage of the competition differ from country to country. They will all be generally before the deadline for submissions to the European competition, scheduled for the 3rd of July 2017.

For any further information about the Awards, please contact your national representative. The full list is available at this link.

Additional details about the awards and the selection process, can be found at this link.

The African Entrepreneurship Award 2017

The African Entrepreneurship Award represents an excellent chance for eligible African entrepreneurs with an existing business or a business idea to win $1 million.

Besides the monetary prize, the award can be considered as an opportunity to receive mentorship across four main rounds of application. During Round 1 regional mentors will provide applicants with inputs on how to increase the impact of their business on a regional level. If the idea ranks among the top level ones for the “Most Needed in the Region”, the application process can advance to Round 2. During this round Pan-African mentors will advise applicants on how the idea can succeed across all Africa. In case the idea is recognized as “Most Likely to Succeed across Africa” it will progress to Round 3. In this phase, mentors will provide useful inputs on how to make a business more significant and sustainable. Applicants progressing towards the final phase will have the opportunity to present their idea to the Presidential Jury in Morocco. Travel and accommodation will be covered by the Award. Winners will continue their journey with a customized post-award plan, designed to make the business grow.

The deadline to submit applications for the first round of this initiative - sponsored by BMCE Bank of Africa – is the 28th of April 2017.

To learn more you can watch an explanatory video and find useful information at this link.

2018 Millennium Technology Prize

The Millennium Technology Prize is an initiative promoted by the Technology Academy Finland recognizing disruptive technological innovation that has an impact on society or humanity at large. These technologies need to have been applied in practice and further stimulate research and development in science and technology.

Individuals or research and development teams of all nations in all fields of technology are eligible to apply. Science and engineering academies, universities, research institutes and companies can submit nominations while self-nominations will not be accepted.

The deadline for submitting a nomination is the 31st of July 2017.

All documents have to be submitted in English, for further information about the requirements, please click here.

Interesting Initiatives

“Becoming an Entrepreneur”: learn the business skills and startup mindset from MIT’s premier program for aspiring entrepreneurs, MIT Launch

edX – a Massive Open Online Courses provider – is offering the opportunity to participate free of charge to one of the courses of MIT Launch, MIT’s premier program for aspiring entrepreneurs.

“Becoming an Entrepreneur” is a course targeting all those willing to explore the entrepreneurial path and learn how to take the first steps and overcome some initial challenges in this field through a combination of short videos, case studies and activities.

Non-experienced participants are welcome to join this course lasting 6 weeks and requiring a studying effort of 1-3 hours per week.

For any further information about the programme and to enroll, please click here.


State of Entrepreneurship 2017. Zero Barriers: Three Mega Trends Shaping the Future of Entrepreneurship

Notwithstanding a slight recovery of entrepreneurship in the United States, there are some major trends occurring that need to be taken into consideration and that the Kauffman Foundation summarized in the recently released report “State of Entrepreneurship 2017”:

  • New Demographics of Entrepreneurship: even though the U.S. population is increasingly older and more racially diversified, this is not reflected in the composition of the entrepreneurial population. Furthermore some demographic groups such as minorities or women are underrepresented in the entrepreneurial economy.
  • New Map of Entrepreneurship: entrepreneurship is more and more becoming a urban phenomenon at the expenses of mid-sized cities and rural areas where the percentage of entrepreneurial activity is dropping. In addition entrepreneurship activity seems to be unevenly concentrated in specific places beyond the typical entrepreneurial hubs like for example the Silicon Valley or Boston.
  • New Nature of Entrepreneurship: technology influenced the activity of starting and scaling up a business. While on the one hand nowadays revenues and job creation do not scale at a similar pace given the leveraging potential of technology, on the other new platforms (like for example Airbnb) lower barriers to entry.

To learn more, please download the report here.

Exploring Firm-Level Innovation and Productivity in Developing Countries: The Perspective of Caribbean Small States

By relying on two micro-level datasets funded by the Compete Caribbean Program, the Caribbean Enterprise Survey (CES) and the follow-up Productivity, Technology, and Innovation (PROTEqIN) survey, this report analyzes the importance of innovation and productivity to the private sector in the Caribbean region. Even though the publication tackles diverse topics, it recognizes four main cross-cutting issues affecting productivity in the Caribbean:

  • Access to Finance: is recognized as one of the major constraints influencing a firm performance. The publication states that it represents an obstacle to innovation especially affecting female managed firms and negatively impacting on process innovation rather than product innovation;
  • Human Capital: represents one of the major concerns for policy makers in the Caribbean. The lack of skilled human capital, the high level of informality as well as some gender-related issues are all factors hampering innovation and productivity at firm level;
  • Business Climate and Regulatory issues: competition, time to market, compliance requirements with international standards and intellectual property protection proved to have a different level of impact on innovation;
  • Infrastructure: in the Caribbean the infrastructure gaps, especially in the energy sector, represent an obstacle to innovation. There is evidence that firms tend to allocate resources to self-generation that could be otherwise be allocated to innovation.

The publication then presents a series of policy recommendations aimed at improving innovation and boosting the economic activity of the region.

Find out more at this link.

Recommended Website

VOX – Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists is the Centre for Economic Policy Research - CEPR’s online platform promoting research-based policy analysis and contributions by leading economists coming from public and private sector, academia and media – as well as students of economics. The portal covers economics-related topics in a broad sense and collaborates with a Consortium of websites stimulating the policy debate worldwide. It is also possible for interested economists to send submissions for posting a column on the portal, by contacting The submission should include information on the author(s)’ current and past affiliation(s), economics degrees or experience, and the link to the author(s)’ current webpage.

For further information about the portal, please visit the following webpage.


Highlighted events

EBAN Annual Congress

7-9 June 2017
Malaga, Spain

The 18th edition of the European Business Angels Network - EBAN (INSME Member) Annual Congress will be hosted by the City of Malaga and Promalaga from the 7th to the 9th of June 2017. The event is expected to gather more than 500 participants from the early stage investing market as well as 100 startups from all over the world to discuss new trends and ideas, ranging from Artificial Intelligence Shaping Industries to Women Angels and Entrepreneurs Investing in Growing Markets, from Science Parks and Universities Transforming Research Projects into Businesses to Space – The Final Frontier of Angel Investing. Malaga will be the stimulating framework of the initiative, thanks to its geostrategic location and being a reference point in the field of new technologies, innovation and knowledge.

To learn more about the initiative and to proceed with the registration, please click here.

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Future international meetings, workshops, seminars selected by INSME

From the 2nd to the 4th of April 2017
AIM Startup 2017 - Innovation Showcase Exhibition & Pitch Competition
Organized by AIM - Annual Investment Meeting, United Arab Emirates Ministry of Economy, Future Cities Show, Dubai International Government Achievement Exhibition in association with Dubai SME (INSME Member)
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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

On the 13th of April 2017
EU-Startups Conference 2017
Hosted by Media UG
Berlin, Germany

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 23rd to the 25th of April 2017
LESI 2017: IP Revolution - Scenarios for the Future?
Organized by LES France
Paris, France

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

On the 26th of April 2017
World Intellectual Property Day
Organized by WIPO (INSME Member)

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
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

From the 31st of May to the 2nd of June 2017
ASTP PROTON Annual Conference
Organized by ASTP PROTON
Budapest, Hungary

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