Issue N° 155 - June 2017
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Updates on the life of the INSME Network

INSME President and Secretary General at the MENA-OECD Working Group on SME Policy and Entrepreneurship

On the 4th and 5th of July 2017, INSME President, Mr. Sergio Arzeni and Secretary General, Mr. Giovanni Zazzerini, will participate to the 9th meeting of the Working Group on SME Policy and Entrepreneurship of the MENA-OECD Competitiveness Programme hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy in Rome. MENA and OECD policy makers together with experts and representatives of the private sector and international institutions will meet to discuss how to enhance policies for SMEs development through international cooperation. The discussion on the first day will address diversification, inclusion and institutional framework with a special focus on responsible supply chains, while the second day will be dedicated to the interim assessment of the SME Policy Index for Southern Mediterranean economies.

INSME welcomes a delegation from Vietnam participating to an Italian Development Cooperation Programme

From the 27th of June to the 23rd of July, INSME will welcome a delegation from Vietnam participating to an Italian Development Cooperation Programme “Raising Youth Employment through School-Enterprise Connections in Bac Ninh Province” implemented by ELIS NGO and aiming at increasing the access to the labour market and the average wage level of young people in Bac Ninh Province in Vietnam by transferring innovative best practices in the formulation of courses to trainers, improving their skills and stimulating the creation of linkages between training institutions and enterprises. In this framework, INSME and ELIS NGO will carry out a four-week training course providing participants with a general understanding of the Italian education system and the socio-economic situation in Italy; a better comprehension of the Italian culture and relevant cross-cultural issues; methodologies, tools and techniques to develop a project and case studies and best practices related to work-related learning in Italy. To address these topics, the training programme will include classroom lessons, project works and site visits with the participation of recognized Italian experts in this field.

For further information about the programme, please visit

To learn more about the possibility of organizing trainings and capacity building initiatives in collaboration with INSME, please contact

INSME is pleased to welcome the Organization of American States - OAS as Full Member!

Following the fruitful collaboration between INSME and the Organization of American States on the occasion of the 13th INSME Annual Meeting held in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, the Network is pleased to welcome OAS as new Full Member:

OAS - The Organization of American States based in Washington DC brings together all 35 independent states of the Americas and constitutes the main political, juridical, and social governmental forum in the Hemisphere. In addition, it has granted permanent observer status to 69 states, as well as to the European Union (EU). The Organization uses a four-pronged approach to effectively implement its essential purposes, based on its main pillars: democracy, human rights, security, and development.

For further information, please visit the dedicated website here.

Enjoy the photo gallery from the 13th INSME Annual Meeting!

More than a month has gone by since the Puerto Vallarta event and participants are starting to bearing the fruits of their participation to the initiative by kicking-off collaborations and new projects.

To recall some of the still vivid memories of the event, some highlights of the Annual Meeting have been collected in a photo gallery available at this link.

Furthermore the presentations of the Speakers adding value to the three-day event with their expert knowledge have been uploaded under the Speakers’ section of the dedicated website of the 13th INSME Annual Meeting.

The INSME Secretariat would like to thank once more the Mexican Institute of the Entrepreneur - INADEM (INSME Board Member) and all participants and supporters who made the 13th INSME Annual Meeting a successful initiative.

News and contributions from the INSME Members

The EuroMed Trade Helpdesk

The EuroMed Trade Helpdesk is a tool developed by the International Trade Centre (INSME Member from Switzerland) and the European Commission to facilitate trade and investment in the Euro Mediterranean Region. The Helpdesk provides accurate information on trade trends, import duties and regulatory requirements to expand a business in the fast growing market of the Mediterranean region. The tool also allows to find suitable business partners, get in touch with national focal points and network with bureau of customs, ministries of trade, health authorities, chambers of commerce as well as trade and investment promotion agencies.

These services are made available free of charge to representatives from developing countries and information is available in English, French and Arabic.

To proceed with the registration to the helpdesk please click here.

T2i - Technology Transfer and Innovation (INSME Member) appointed as Digital Innovation Hub

T2i - technology transfer and innovation (INSME Member from Italy) - the innovation agency promoted by the Chambers of Commerce of Treviso, Verona and Venice - has been recognized as the first Digital Innovation Hub (DIH) of the Triveneto area by the European Union in the framework of the I4MS (ICT Innovation for Manufacturing SMEs) programme, an initiative supporting the European leadership in manufacturing through the adoption of ICT technologies.

This will imply the creation of a network of branches in the Triveneto area to facilitate the digitalization of manufacturing in line with the principles of the Industry 4.0.

T2i - technology transfer and innovation obtained this important recognition given the expertise developed in R&D projects with a special attention to HPC - High Performance Computing, Cyber Physical System and Internet of Things.

To learn more about t2i and I4MS, please click here.

The Inventor Assistance Program - an initiative jointly promoted by the World Intellectual Property Organization (INSME Member) and the World Economic Forum

The Inventor Assistance Program is an initiative matching developing country inventors and small businesses with limited financial means with patent attorneys, who offer their help free of charge.

This initiative was born out of the need to provide inventors and small businesses with the resources or specialist knowledge they often lack to use the patent protection system of their country.

This program jointly developed by the World Intellectual Property Organization - WIPO (INSME Member) and the World Economic Forum, will benefit the society as a whole and in particular:

  • inventors who will be able to profit from their inventions;
  • patent attorneys who will increase their professional experience and expand their network of contacts;
  • governments and IP offices as better patent applications will increase the total value of IP assets within the economy.

To learn more about the program and how to apply, please click here.

INSME’s Picks in the News

These four technologies will shape the creative economy - for better or worse

Augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and blockchain are disrupting the way in which content is produced and consumed in the creative economy. This article by Mr. Stefan Hall from Information and Entertainment System Initiative and Mr. Ryo Takahashi from the Word Economic Forum shed light on these technologies by analyzing the societal impact they might have.

“Almost a decade ago, Jonathan Zittrain, a Harvard professor, warned us that the internet may go in one of two directions.

The favourable outcome, he describes, is a system where ownership of content is decentralized and individuals are free to generate their own content.”

Continue reading at this link.

Why the Future of Innovation is Open

Not every company has the best resources and workforce internally to improve its performance. Open innovation fills this gap by offering companies the opportunity to work together by sharing knowledge and skills to create the best innovation ecosystem. Despite this, open innovation does not come without effort as a deep change in the mindset is needed to re-rethink the way innovation has always been done so far. In this framework, Mr. Jacob Morgan highlights the importance of having a clear understanding of how much information the two parties are willing to share and the risks they are willing to take.

“With the growth of technology and new ways of working, innovation is playing a huge role in the workplace. The most successful organizations are those that can prep for the future and push the envelope creatively to find the next innovative idea. But what if how we have been thinking about innovation is all wrong?”

Continue reading at this link.

Tenders, Calls & Consultations

The Global Development Awards Competition

The Global Development Network launched the Global Development Awards Competition, an award scheme supported by the Japanese Ministry of Finance with the aim to recognize excellence in policy-oriented research, support research capacity development of researchers in developing countries and fund innovative social development projects benefiting marginalized groups in the developing world.

Application for the Japanese Award for Outstanding Research on Development and the Japanese Award for Most Innovative Development Project can be submitted until the 16th of July 2017.

Each category will be awarded as follows: 1st prize - 30,000 $; 2nd prize - 10,000 $ and 3rd prize - 5,000 $.

Find out more about the Global Development Awards Competition at this page.

The ACTTiVAte Call for Proposals

A call for proposals addressing innovative SMEs has been recently launched in the framework of the ACTTiVAte project with the aim to enable the emergence of new cross-border and cross-sectoral value chains by fostering technology transfer within four different sectors: ICT, Aerospace, Agrofood and Health. Eligible projects presented by SMEs will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Innovation potential
  • Technical excellence
  • Business potential
  • Expected impact.

50 projects will be selected, of which the 30 top-ranked proposals will receive up to 46,000 € in funding, plus a full package of business support services. The runner-up 20 projects will receive up to 6,000 € and a limited pool of business support services.

The application procedures will be open until the 5th of September.

More information about the call is available at this page.

Startup Open 2017

Startup Open is a global competition annually promoted by the Global Entrepreneurship Network to recognize the most promising ventures from around the world based on their growth potential, passion, creativity, level of idea development and pitching skills.

The winner will be invited to participate to the Global Entrepreneurship Congress to be held in April 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey that will be the occasion to showcase the startup on a global scale; gain valuable insights from successful and experienced entrepreneurs; hear from and meet world leaders, economists and other experts regarding programs, policies and research aimed at advancing entrepreneurship.

Applications will be accepted until the 30th of September 2017. Find out more about Startup Open at this page.

The SME Instrument team is looking for experienced investment professionals

The Horizon 2020 SME Instrument - that is trying to find excellent innovative business opportunities and business propositions that will allow the applicant SMEs to grow and create jobs - is looking for experts in private equity, angel investment, crowdfunding, seed and venture capital to act as evaluators of the project proposals. Experts are expected to:

  • assess the proposal and identify the most disruptive, scalable SMEs
  • evaluate the proposals
  • interview the most promising businesses.

Detailed information about the different phases and the registration process is available at this page.

Interesting Initiatives

Turning knowledge into innovation and growth in SMEs: the Innovation Associate Programme

A new scheme funded under Horizon 2020, the European Union’s research and innovation programme, will support SMEs and startups willing to hire a researcher who will bring their brilliant ideas to life: the Innovation Associate Programme.

Researchers who hold a PhD or equivalent from all over the world are eligible to participate while only SMEs (including start-ups) established in EU member states or countries associated to Horizon 2020 are eligible.

For further information about the open vacancy notices please visit EURAXESS, the European job platform for researchers at this link.

Sustainable Innovation Assessment and Management - a free online training promoted in the frame of the CASI project

Sustainable Innovation Assessment and Management is a free online training promoted in the frame of the CASI project (an initiative involving META Group, INSME Vice President, as a partner) and offering a comprehensive review of sustainable innovation related topics organized around 6 modules and 12 units. The themes at the core of the course are sustainable innovation concepts, sustainable innovation in the EU, sustainable innovation state-of-the-art among others.

The training course intends to focus on the ‘People’ dimension, in particular on its two key aspects of ‘aptitude’ and ‘attitude’, which are necessary to promote and more effectively manage sustainable innovations. At the end of the course participants will understand what sort of prerequisites, knowledge and leadership, among other skills, are needed to improve the sustainability of different types of innovations.

More information about the course is available here.


Small, Medium, Strong

The OECD (INSME Moral Sponsor) recently released ‘Small, Medium, Strong’, a publication that is the outcome of a pilot project undertaken in 2015-16 by the OECD Working Party on SMEs and Entrepreneurship with the aim to analyse SMEs performances, business environment conditions and SME policy approaches in the OECD countries. SMEs play a key role within the OECD countries representing almost the totality of the business population and accounting for 60% of total employment. According to the data collected and elaborated by the OECD, SMEs contribution to the economy is higher in services (ca. 65% of total employment) and value added, while a decrease has been registered in R&D sector.

The 2008 global crisis affected considerably SMEs and the recovery varied significantly across countries. In all countries, micro-enterprises dominate the business landscape, representing 70% to 95% of all firms. However, there is a large heterogeneity in the structure and contributions of SMEs within and across OECD countries.

‘Small, Medium, Strong’ includes a series of indicators and data that are available at this page.

Study on frugal innovation and reengineering of traditional techniques

Frugal innovation (‘The process of developing new products or services to replace existing technologies and gain a competitive advantage. For example, in a typical innovative high technology business, disruptive innovation tends to shake up a market when it is introduced externally, and it typically requires a more creative internal attitude toward the product development and promotion process.’ has a huge potential for European industry, entrepreneurs and citizens.

In order to exploit frugal innovation at its maximum extent a dynamic support system is required, meaning that further actors capable of technology exploitation have to be mobilized, their relations with technology developers have to be enhanced, their access to foreign markets needs to be improved, and an active role of NGOs, development agencies and research organizations in developing global challenge-oriented projects promoted. These are some of the topics included in the ‘Study on frugal innovation and reengineering of traditional techniques’ released by the European Commission.

The study identifies obstacles and elements that can impact on the promotion of frugal innovation in Europe.

The whole publication is available here.


Highlighted events

16th International Entrepreneurship Forum Conference

14th - 16th of September 2017
Kathmandu, Nepal

Organized by the International Entrepreneurship Forum, the Essex Business School - University of Essex, the King’s College, The Forum for Sustainable New Venture (INSME Member) and INSME

Under the topic “Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Economic Development” the 16th International Entrepreneurship Forum will bring together entrepreneurs, researchers, practitioners in Kathmandu, Nepal from the 14th to the 16th of September 2017.

The Forum will be the occasion to debate the practice of sustainable entrepreneurship in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations as well as find innovative solutions to challenges associated with human endeavor, technological development, environmental change, organizational flux and much more.

Prof. Zoltan Acs, Mr. Sergio Arzeni, Ms. Hedda Pahlson-Moller, Prof. Jay Mitra, Prof. Ben Shenglin are among the Speakers that have already confirmed their participation to the event organized by the Essex Business School, the King’s College, the Forum for Sustainable New Venture (INSME Member from the United Kingdom) and INSME.

Discover more about the 16th International Entrepreneurship Forum at this page.

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Future international meetings, workshops, seminars selected by INSME

On the 5th of July 2017
The 5th Annual Conference on "Unitary Patent & Unified Patent Court 2017"
Organized by Premier Circle in collaboration with the European Patent Office (EPO)
Munich, Germany

From the 17th to the 19th of July 2017
8th International Science and Technology Conference
Organized by Vienne University of Technology, Sakarya University, Governors State University and The Association of Science, Education and Technology (TASET)
Berlin, Germany

From the 10th to the 13th of September 2017
2017 Asia Pacific Cities Summit & Mayors' Forum
Organized by Brisbane City Council in collaboration with WTA - World Technopolis Association (INSME Member)
Daejeon, Korea

From the 14th to the 16th of September 2017
15th Triple Helix International Conference
Organized by Asialics and Triple Helix Association (INSME Member)
Daegu, Korea

From the 19th to the 20th of September 2017
Techinnovation 2017
Organized by Intellectual Property Intermediary (IPI)

From the 26th to the 29th of September 2017
34th IASP World Conference on Science Parks and Areas of Innovation
Organized by IASP
Istanbul, Turkey

From the 9th to the 12th of October 2017
The European Week of Regions and Cities
Organized by the European Commission Regional Policy DG and the Committee of the Regions
Brussels, Belgium

From the 16th to the 17th of October 2017
Organized by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology
Budapest, Hungary

From the 7th to the 9th of November 2017
20th TIC Global Conference
Organized by TCI Network
Bogota, Colombia

From the 22nd to the 24th of November 2017
The 2017 SME Assembly
Organized by the European Commission
Tallin, Estonia

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