Issue N° 160 - December 2017
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Dear INSMEnews Readers,

2017 is coming to an end and it is that time of the year again to take stock of the progress made. 2017 has been challenging and stimulating at the same time for INSME.

Diverse changes occurred, many results have been achieved, new initiatives have been kicked off and the Network is now nurturing new ideas which make hope in an equally promising 2018.

With the dedication of our Board, Members and governing bodies we are proud to have successfully handled this year.

From our deepest, we would like to thank all of you for your support.

The INSME Team wishes you a joyful holiday season and a successful New Year.

...and now as usual enjoy the reading!


The INSME Secretariat


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Updates on the life of the INSME Network

INSME delivering the second module of the training on school-enterprise connection in Viet Nam

In the course of 2017 INSME has been involved in ‘Raising Youth Employment through School-Enterprise Connection in the Bac Ninh Province’, an initiative of the Italian Development Cooperation Programme aiming at creating linkages between training institutions and SMEs and promoting entrepreneurship in the Bac Ninh province, Vietnam. The initiative has been developed in two different phases: a first phase has been organized in Rome in July. On that occasion a delegation of Vietnamese executives took advantage of a three-week training course organized in collaboration with Elis NGO and concluded with the drafting and presentation of a project work to be concretely developed with the aim to impact on job creation in the Bac Ninh province. The second phase has just taken place: INSME Secretary General, Mr. Zazzerini spent three weeks in Vietnam to analyze the SMEs environment in the country and the most relevant findings of this on-the-field research will be included in a report. Mr. Zazzerini also shared insights on how to become more entrepreneurial and easily access the job market during a series of workshops held in the Bac Ninh province.

INSME President at the APEC Public – Private Dialogue on Enhancing Capacities of MSMEs in Exporting Services

On the 29th and 30th of November 2017 Mr. Sergio Arzeni, INSME President actively intervened in the APEC Public – Private Dialogue on Enhancing Capacities of MSMEs in Exporting Services organized in Hanoi in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

The two-day event was intended to be a platform for an open discussion between public and private actors on the state-of-the-art as well as on the challenges of APEC services for MSMEs. The Dialogue also aimed at discussing possible ways to promote MSMEs capacities related to exporting services, in particular by taking policies, technical assistance and skills development into account.

Mr. Arzeni’s participation to the APEC Dialogue confirms INSME’s commitment and expertise on the most relevant issues on the global agenda as well as the key role the Network plays in international events.

News and contributions from the INSME Members

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (INSME Member from Switzerland) and the International Labour Organisation boosting productivity in SMEs globally

Sustaining competitive and responsible enterprises - SCORE is a programme involving the International Labour Organization – ILO and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs – SECO (INSME Member from Switzerland). Since 2009 SCORE promotes more and better jobs in small and medium enterprises in SECO partner countries. On the 4th of December 2017 the two organizations announced the launch of the Phase III of this flagship programme and SECO will support it with 12 million Swiss francs (ca. 10 million Euro).

In this third phase the program will aim to the promotion of innovative partnerships with lead buyers and brand consortia in order to encourage the integration of SCORE methodologies in supplier development strategies.

Read more at this page.

The Lean Startup Academy Spain: the programme to increase the commercial traction of your idea

Early stage startups and SMEs operating in the eHealth sector as well as companies based in H2020 countries have the opportunity to access the Lean Startup Academy to validate their business models and increase their commercial traction.

Starting in March 2018, 10 selected startups will take advantage of a free-of-charge training taking place in Madrid, Spain and based on Lean Startup and Customer Development Methodologies that will represent a unique occasion to validate business ideas; get personalized feedback from experienced trainers; access potential customers and investors and get visibility through the eHealth Hub partners dissemination channels.

The initiative is organized in the framework of the eHealth Hub, a EU-funded initiative focused on the digital health vertical. The programme will count on the expertise of Mr. Andrea Di Anselmo, Vice President at INSME and META Group and the deadline for sending applications is the 31st of January 2018.

Find out more at this page.

UNCTAD (INSME Member) and Alibaba Business School inaugurated the eFounders Initiative

UNCTAD (INSME Member) is establishing a series of smart partnerships to reach the Sustainable Development Goals included in the UN Agenda 2030. One of these partnerships includes the eFounders Initiative, representing the first commitment of Mr. Jack Ma, founder and executive manager at Alibaba, as UNCTAD special adviser for young entrepreneurs and small businesses. The eFounders initiative aims at filling the digital divide faced by young entrepreneurs in developing countries.

The initiative has been inaugurated with two dozen participants who have been selected among ca. 700 applicants and participated in two-week intensive training course including a capacity building in e-commerce. Selected young entrepreneurs from seven African countries had also the chance of a private meeting with Mr. Ma.

Read more about the initiative at this page.

The Latin American and Caribbean Economic System (INSME Member) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (INSME Moral Sponsor) join efforts to support MSMEs in the region

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development – OECD (INSME Moral Sponsor) and the Latin American and Caribbean Economic System – SELA (INSME Member) recently signed an agreement putting the base for an institutional and technical cooperation aiming at promoting sustainable and inclusive growth in Latin America and the Caribbean. The agreement includes a Specific Cooperation Project to implement the Index of Public Policies for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, a tool monitoring public policies and encouraging the economic dynamism of MSMEs that generate more than half of the jobs and one-fourth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the region.

More information is available here.

INSME's Picks in the News

Official opening of the European Network of Research and Innovation Centres and Hubs in Brazil 

Brazil is one of the most important economy worldwide and one of the EU’s major business partners. Based on this, the European Network of Research and Innovation Centres and Hubs – ENRICH has recently opened its hub in Brazil with the aim to facilitate the cooperation between the country and the EU to foster innovation, research and entrepreneurship.

ENRICH offers a range of services among which:

  • networking, in particular through the promotion of a series of events and activities that facilitate the opportunity to connect, share and learn;
  • promotion, awareness raising and training initiatives, including participation to trade shows, training and e-learning modules, workshops, etc;
  • advice and support on internationalization.

Discover more about ENRICH at this page.

About IPR…in South East Asia

How to use the Patent Cooperation Treaty: focusing on South-East Asia

The South East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk released an article providing readers with tips and advices on how to use the Patent Cooperation Treaty – PCT, managed by WIPO. Following an introduction that explains what the Patent Cooperation Treaty is, the article describes the two procedures to apply – the international and the national – and highlights the advantages of applying under the PCT, among which the fact that this kind of application automatically includes all countries bound by the PCT. Furthermore in case European SMEs plan to enter into several different South-East Asian markets, the application under the PCT will be more time-efficient than applying separately for single countries.

Read the whole article here.

Tenders, Calls & Consultations

Call for proposals - cluster facilitated projects for new industrial value chains

The European Commission is looking for project proposals under the Horizon 2020 framework programme to outline a strategic vision for building new industrial value chains across the EU Member States and Associated Countries. Project proposals shall specifically focus on integrating and supporting groups of SMEs in collaboration with other innovation actors in addressing specific problems and challenges. Each project proposal should 1) validate ideas for structured innovation projects driven by SMEs in collaboration with other innovation actors and facilitate the coordination towards new industrial value chains; 2) foresee innovation support measures (such as mentoring, coaching, innovation and technical assistance vouchers, etc.) directly to the innovation actors of the validated innovation projects to further support their development.

For the first stage of the submission procedure, applicants shall provide a concept note by the 12th of April 2018. The European Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 2.5 and 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

To learn more about the expected impact of project proposals and get further information, please click here.

The Innovation Prize for Africa 2018

African entrepreneurs, academics or inventors who have breakthrough innovations that can provide solutions to challenges Africa faces in the areas of agriculture and agribusiness; environment, energy and water; health and well-being; ICTs; manufacturing and service industry are invited to apply for the Innovation Prize for Africa 2018. The ten best applications will be invited to participate to the Award ceremony while three among them will be selected after face-to-face interviews for the top 3 prizes and receive:

  1. US$ 100,000 for the first prize;
  2. US$ 25,000 for the second prize;
  3. US$ 25,000 for the special prize for social innovation.

The remaining 7 finalists will receive a voucher of US$ 5,000 in recognition of the positioning of their innovation in the final stage of the award.

Money prizes are not the only benefit finalists will get from their participation to the Innovation Prize for Africa 2018. Nominees and winners will also benefit from the AIF-IPA brand, receive ongoing local, regional and international media coverage, and support and training opportunities that can be scouted for them.

The deadline for sending applications is the 10th of January 2018.

The Innovation Prize for Africa 2018 is an initiative of the African Innovation Foundation kicked off five years ago.

To find out more about the eligibility guidelines as well as selection criteria, please click on this link.

The DesignEuropa Awards

Applications are now open for the DesignEuropa Awards, an initiative promoted by the European Union Intellectual Property Office – EUIPO to recognize excellence in design and design management among Registered Community Design (RCD) holders, whether they are individual right holders, small businesses or large enterprises.

Any person, entity or institution of any nationality owning a valid RCD can join the competition either individually or as a team. Entries can be submitted either on the candidate's own initiative or by any other person, entity or institution that wishes to propose a candidate for:

  1. The Industry Award
  2. The Small and Emerging Companies Award
  3. The Lifetime Achievement Award.

All category winners will receive a specially commissioned DesignEuropa Awards trophy, and will be featured in press and promotional material after the ceremony. EUIPO will also cover travel and accommodation expenses of the finalists to join the ceremony taking place in Warsaw on the 27th of November 2018.

The deadline for submitting applications is the 15th of May 2018.

For any further information about the rules of participation, please click here.

Interesting Initiatives

Make the most of EU resources for your region or city – join the free online course

The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) will launch a new free massive open online course (MOOC) on “Make the most of EU resources for your region or city” in January 2018. The course will last six weeks and will provide relevant information on present and future EU policies and programmes, as well as practical tools and examples of available funding opportunities at regional and local level. The course will also offer practical examples and success stories of concrete EU-funded projects across the continent. The initiative targets officials of regional and local administrations involved in EU affairs, as well as students, teachers, local journalists and citizens and in general everyone interested in EU and its regional and local affairs.

This course is also available in German and French.

To find out more about the course structure please click here.


Doing Business 2018: Reforming to Create Jobs

Doing Business 2018: Reforming to Create Jobs is a flagship publication of the World Bank Group assessing 190 economies worldwide and specifically analyzing the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it. By taking into consideration 11 areas affecting the life of a business, the 15th edition of Doing Business highlights that entrepreneurs have reported improvements in their local regulatory framework last year and in particular:

  1. Brunei Darussalam, Thailand, Malawi, Kosovo, India, Uzbekistan, Zambia, Nigeria, Djibouti and El Salvador were the most improved economies in 2016/17, implementing all overall 53 regulatory reforms making it easier to do business;
  1. Europe and Central Asia keep on being the regions with the highest share of economies implementing at least one reform in the period covered.

The publication also showcases four case studies in the areas of starting a business, dealing with construction permits, registering property and resolving insolvency, as well as an annex on labor market regulation.

Read more at this link.

The Annual Report on European SMEs 2016/2017

The Annual Report on European SMEs 2016/2017, edited by the European Commission, presents good news: the 2016 marked the third consecutive year of steady increases in EU-28 SME employment and EU-28 SME value added. Employment by EU-28 SMEs increased annually by 1.6% in 2015 and 2016 and the value added generated by SMEs rose by 1.4% in 2016 following an increase of 5.8% in 2015. SME recovery involved most of EU Member States.

The frontrunners with regard to SME employment were Malta, Croatia, Slovakia, Portugal, Cyprus, Lithuania and Luxembourg, whose growth went beyond 3% in 2016. While with regard to value added the leaders were Bulgaria, Croatia, Ireland, Malta and Romania where it rose by more than 5%.

Future outlook is also promising: SMEs are expected to continue their growth in 2017 and 2018. EU-28 SME employment is forecast to increase by 1% in 2017 and 0.9% in 2018, and EU-28 SME value added is predicted to grow by 2.5% in 2017 and 3.8% in 2018.

Read more about the current status of European SMEs at this link.

Recommended Website - the only source of aggregated data regarding EU projects

Keep-eu is a database collecting information on projects and beneficiaries of European Union cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation programmes among the member States, and between member States and neighbouring countries covering the 2000-2006, 2007-2013 and 2014-2020 periods.

It is possible to browse projects by theme and types of programmes as well as register to the platform to look for partners or state the availability and interest to join a project proposal as partner. Thanks to aggregated data from Keep-eu, it is also possible to build a tailored chart regarding statistics of projects, partners and budget per country, region, thematic objectives and much more.

Keep-eu is an initiative developed under the Interact Programme, with the support of the European Commission and the remaining Interreg, Interreg IPA cross-border and ENPI/ENI cross-border programmes.

To learn more, please click here.


Highlighted events

ISPIM Innovation Forum
"The Innovation Game: Base Hits, Not Home Runs"

From the 25th to the 28th of March 2018
Organized by ISPIM in partnership with MassTLC & D'Amore McKim School of Business
Boston, USA

More than 200 researchers, managers, executives, consultants, industry, intermediary and policy organizations leading innovation management from over 30 countries will gather from the 25th to the 28th of March 2018 in Boston, USA for the 2018 edition of the ISPIM Innovation Forum on "The Innovation Game: Base Hits, Not Home Runs".

The participation to the ISPIM Innovation Forum is an opportunity to engage with top innovation leaders from North America and beyond and network with innovation experts across industries and continents. Among some of the confirmed speakers, the Forum will count on Mr. Tim Rowe, Founder & CEO of the Cambridge Innovation Center and Mr. Scott Kirsner, Editor & Co-Founder, Innovation Leader, Columnist at the Boston Globe.

The event will also include site visit to local innovation clusters in the field of healthcare, digital disruption, robotics, life sciences, fintech and entrepreneurship.

The 2018 edition of the ISPIM Innovation Forum is organized by ISPIM (INSME Member), in partnership with MassTLC & D'Amore McKim School of Business.

Find out more about the programme and register on the official website of the event here.

Future international meetings, workshops, seminars selected by INSME

From the 15th to the 16th of January 2018
The International Intellectual Property Law Association - IIPLA 4th Dubai IP Congress
Organized by the International Intellectual Property Law Association - IIPLA
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

From the 29th of January to the 1st of February 2018
10th International Invention Fair in the Middle East
Organized by Kuwait Science Club in collaboration with the International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva under the Patronage of His Highness the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah

On the 1st of February 2018
The 16th Annual European Financial Services Conference
Organized by ForumEurope
Brussels, Belgium

From the 8th to the 9th of February 2018
The Unitary Patent Package Conference
Organized by Euroforum
The Hague, The Netherlands

From the 19th to the 20th of February 2018
World Business Angels Investment Forum 2018
Organized by the World Business Angels Investment Forum
Istanbul, Turkey

From the 22nd to the 23rd of February 2018
Second European Industry Day
Organized by the European Commission - DG Growth
Brussels, Belgium

On the 8th of March 2018
The 9th Annual European e-Commerce Conference 2018
Organized by ForumEurope
Brussels, Belgium

On the 13th of March 2018
Enhancing Data Protection in Europe: Towards a Safer Digital Future
Organized by Public Policy Exchange
Brussels, Belgium

From the 20th to the 21st of March 2018
IPBC Europe "Harnessing IP Value in European Companies"
Organized by IAM
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

From the 22nd to the 24th of March 2018
The Regional Innovation Forum
Organized by the World Bank
Bratislava, Slovakia

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