Issue N° 161 - January 2018
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Updates on the life of the INSME Network

INSME proudly announces its 14th Annual Meeting at the European Parliament

The 14th edition of the INSME Annual Meeting will take place in the prestigious location of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium on the 17th and 18th of May. Under the topic Industry 4.0 for SMEs' Business Growth, the 14th INSME Annual Meeting will be an occasion to discuss how to overcome SMEs’ key challenges in taking the most from Industry 4.0, characterize the business ecosystem needed to support the technological change and identify opportunities coming from emerging technologies and markets.

INSME Members, prominent innovation experts, representatives from SMEs and business support organizations, are therefore invited to join the international conference. The initiative will give participants the chance to bring their experience and expertise to the attention of Members of the European Parliament to spur SMEs’ business growth and give a concrete contribution to the recovery of Europe.

Plenty of networking opportunities will be envisaged enabling attendees to interact and get in contact for the establishment of strategic collaborations and identification of relevant business partners.

Further information will be available soon on the dedicated webpage of the event. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact for any further information.

INSME President at the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference

From the 10th to the 13th of December 2017, INSME President, Mr. Sergio Arzeni, participated to the 11th World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference chaired by Minister Susana Malcorra of Argentina and organized in Buenos Aires. Among a series of ministerial decisions, on the final day of the conference 87 WTO members, accounting for around 78 per cent of world exports, issued a joint statement declaring their intention to create, multilaterally, an Informal Working Group on MSMEs at the WTO that would be open to all members. The aim of the Informal Working Group would be to address obstacles specifically related to foreign trade operations, representing a significant burden for MSMEs interested in participating in international trade.

The Joint Ministerial Statement: Declaration on the Establishment of a WTO Informal Work Programme for MSMEs is available at this link.

Join the February session of the INSMEAcademy on "Software and data-bases protection for SMEs and start-ups"

The INSMEAcademy confirms itself as a relevant platform to share knowledge, exchange information and experience among innovation stakeholders worldwide. The February session will be an opportunity to receive useful insights on “Software and data-bases protection for SMEs and start-ups” by drawing on the expertise of Dr. Michela Maggi, Partner – Business Lawyer – PhD on Intellectual Property at Maggi Legal, Italy. The webinar aims at growing awareness among SMEs of the means for protection as intellectual property assets of software and data-bases, algorithms as well as to understand how they can circulate and which processes and documents should be implemented.

Join the INSMEAcademy on the 27th of February at 1 p.m. (Central European Time) by sending an e-mail to including your name and surname, organization, e-mail and country.

In case of any question please contact the INSME Secretariat at this e-mail address or visit the dedicated section of the INSME portal here.

News and contributions from the INSME Members

Dubai SME (INSME Member from the United Arab Emirates) launches a programme to empower Emirati women

”Future Founders and Future Funders Programme” is the new initiative to foster entrepreneurship among Emirati women launched last December by INSME Full Member Dubai SME and WOMENA, an angel investment platform based in the United Arab Emirates.

The programme targeted university-level Emirati women who are at the beginning of their career and are considering working in the field of finance and entrepreneurship. The programme comprised two different tracks: Future Founders” providing students with the tools and knowledge to design an innovative business and “Future Funders” introducing students to venture investing and enabling them to gain relevant skills to invest in startups or work with a venture capital firm. The programme also included a final demo day, during which 'Future Founder' students pitched their business ideas to the 'Future Funder' graduates, who employed their skills to evaluate a successful business proposal.

To learn more about the programme, please click here.

The Network for Business Sustainability – NBS (INSME Member from Canada) workshop on Sustainability Centres

The advancement of knowledge and practice on business sustainability with a special regard to improving related research, teaching, outreach, and strategy will be the aim of the Sustainability Centres Workshop 2018 an initiative of the Sustainability Centres Community (SCC), managed by the Network for Business Sustainability (NBS), INSME Member from Canada.

From the 25th to the 27th of June 2018 New York City will gather leaders of business school sustainability/responsibility centres to share common challenges and identify solutions through debates and training. Specifically two days will be dedicated to centres while the third one will explore shared concerns with the broader sustainability community.

The agenda of the event is available here together with other relevant information about the initiative and its organizers.

ANIMA Investment Network (INSME Member from France) coordinated the publication of the “Business Guide. Growth opportunities in the Mediterranean”

The publication “Business guide – growth opportunities in the Mediterranean” is a reference for all those businesses interested in learning more about Southern Mediterranean countries. The business guide focuses on five main sectors: agrifood, renewable energy, cultural and creative industries, tourism and transport and logistics sectors and provides an overview on the business opportunities, examples of projects implemented by foreign operators and main business events in Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia.

This publication has been produced in the framework of the EUROMED Invest Business Intelligence with the financial assistance of the European Union. The EUROMED Invest is a 4-year project (2013-2017) coordinated by ANIMA Investment Network (INSME Member from France) in the framework of the MedAlliance consortium. INSME contributed to the project as affiliated entity by developing trainings and follow-up webinars for young entrepreneurs, women and the diaspora community.

To read the guide please click here while to learn more about the EUROMED Invest project and its initiatives please visit the dedicated website at this link.

INSME Interview & Blog

An interview with Dr. Charles Day, CEO of the Office of Innovation and Science Australia

OISA (Office of Innovation and Science Australia) CEO Dr. Charles Day shared his views about innovation, teamwork and strategic partnerships in this interview with INSME. By drawing on his long career in innovation, business development, technology commercialisation, venture capital and start-up creation, Dr. Day stressed the importance of attracting and retaining talents as well as ensuring that people have the confidence and self-awareness necessary to function effectively in order for an SME to be competitive on the market.

Get inspired by the experience of Dr. Day by reading the complete interview on the INSME website at this link.

Establishing a culture of innovation in business

By looking at the American business landscape, business leaders who acknowledge and recognize the importance of innovation find themselves ahead of the competition, that refuses to establish a culture of innovation. By drawing on the research by the Villanova University, in this new article for the INSMEblog Sarah Daren (consultant for startups in business innovation and marketing) presents an overview and a brief description of the four types of innovation that are widely recognized nowadays, several compelling reasons why companies should take innovation seriously and some take away messages for those companies that are interested in starting their journey towards the establishment of a culture of innovation with their employees.

Learn more insights at this link.

If you are interested in contributing with an article on methodologies and best practices related to innovation to the INSMEblog, please contact the INSME editorial staff at this e-mail address.

INSME’s Picks in the News

European Innovation Council pilot unveils the Jury of Experts

The European Innovation Council pilot is an initiative providing support to top-class innovators, entrepreneurs, small companies and scientists with bright ideas and the goal of scaling up globally, ranging from funding to coaching, networking and much more. In this framework, the SME Instrument that is now part of the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot, will undergo a radical change. Companies that will pass the initial stage (concept and feasibility study), will have to pitch their ideas in front of a jury of experts composed by private investors, business angels and other players in the innovation ecosystem. The jury has been recently unveiled and is made up of 87 experts from 26 countries with the majority of women representatives. Among them, Anna Amati, Founder and Owner at META Group (holding INSME Vice Presidency).

For further information about the jury and the European Innovation Council pilot, please click here.

Tenders, Calls & Consultations

European Strategic Cluster Partnerships for Smart Specialisation Investments

EASME, the Executive Agency for SMEs of the European Commission is supporting the European Strategic Cluster Partnership for Smart Specialisation Investments through a call for proposals aiming at encouraging partnerships between enterprises – in particular SMEs - research and technology centres as well as cluster organizations. The partnerships are expected to generate joint actions and investment projects in common smart specialisation priority areas linked to industrial modernisation and to help improving their business environment. 

EASME will finance up to 8 proposals and the maximum grant for projects – financed up to 75% of the eligible costs – is EUR 350.000. Actions must have a duration of a minimum of 12 months and a maximum of 24 months.

Participating consortia have to meet two main requirements: be composed by legal entities established in a EU Member State or in a country participating in the COSME programme; represent a cluster organization, a business centre organization, a technology research centre or a science park.

The deadline for submissions is the 8th of March 2018.

Find out more about this opportunity at this page.

Bring your innovation to the market with the Eurostars programme

The Eurostars programme is a joint initiative of EUREKA (INSME Partner) and the European Commission that annually opens two calls for innovative ideas.

The programme aims at supporting R&D-performing SMEs and stimulates international collaborative research and innovation projects to be rapidly commercialized.

The call is open to companies based in one of the 36 EUREKA Associated Countries and applicants are invited to contact their National Project Coordinators in order to complete their submission.

Given the fact that Eurostars follows a decentralised funding procedure, each national project coordinator will adopt its own rules and procedures.

The deadline for submissions is the 1st of March 2018.

More information about the eligibility criteria and the Eurostars programme is available here.

Submit your paper for the special issue of the Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Emerging Economies

The Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Emerging Economies will publish a special issue on “Migrant and Transnational Entrepreneurs: International Entrepreneurship and Emerging Economies” edited by Prof. Jay Mitra (INSME Board Member) and Prof. Sarika Pruthi.

A call for papers has been launched with the aim to develop a more robust scholarly interest in migrant and transnational entrepreneurship, and provide novel insights to advance international entrepreneurship theory using a combination of multidisciplinary and/or multi-method approaches, especially in emerging economy contexts.

Interested contributors are expected to submit a paper on a series of focus themes among which:

  • Migrant and transnational entrepreneurs: Motivations, strategies and contributions
  • Impact of emerging (and developed) economy institutional contexts on migrant/transnational entrepreneurship
  • Social and human capital of migrant entrepreneurs/transnational entrepreneurs
  • Migrant entrepreneurs/transnational entrepreneurs and international new ventures/born globals.

Submit your paper by the 31st of March 2018 at this page.

More information about the call for papers is available here.


The Missing Entrepreneurs 2017

The OECD (INSME Moral Sponsor) and the European Commission have recently released the 4th edition of The Missing Entrepreneurs. The report analyses the most relevant challenges and barriers to entrepreneurship faced by disadvantaged groups such as women, youth or workers with a migrant background as well as the policy measures and programmes supporting inclusive entrepreneurship that could be a way to respond to these challenges and create jobs.

Among the interesting data included, the report shows that women are less likely to report they have the right skills and knowledge to start a business than men: 34.1% vs. 49.9% for men in the European Union between 2012 and 2016, and 36.8% vs. 51.2% for men in OECD countries. This is only one of the data showing the need to design new public policies facilitating and encouraging entrepreneurial spirit, in particular by ensuring that everyone could have the same opportunities, regardless of personal characteristics or background.

The 2017’s edition is enriched with a series of country profiles covering recent trends in inclusive entrepreneurship, key policy challenges and recent policy actions in each of the 28 EU Member States.

The Missing Entrepreneurs 2017 is downloadable here.

ASEAN 4.0: What does the Fourth Industrial Revolution mean for regional economic integration?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is transforming social, economic and political systems and this requires to be managed by leaders and policy makers.

The Asian Development Bank (INSME Member) and the World Economic Forum have recently released a paper analysing the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

On the one hand the Fourth Industrial Revolution will bring relevant benefits – as for example SMEs empowerment – on the other one it will bring many challenges – such as deep disruption to jobs given to the fact that artificial intelligence and advanced robotics undermine manufacturing and services jobs. According to the report, ASEAN leaders might start to think regionally in order to successfully manage these challenges.

The paper also includes seven suggestions for ASEAN leaders, among them the report states that the Secretariat might design and run an operating system for regional integration as well as act as a platform organization that formalizes and upgrades the operating system so that multi-stakeholders groups working on integration projects could function more effectively. Furthermore since the Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterized by rapid, non-linear changes, it is important to be as more agile as possible.

Read the whole paper available here.

Recommended Website

The European Investment Project Portal

In June 2016 the European Commission has launched the European Investment Project Portal, a web platform established as part of the Investment Plan for European Initiative to mobilise investments, promote economic growth and create more jobs across the European Union.

The platform is a useful tool increasing the visibility of EU projects as well as the chances to reach potential investors.

Eligible projects for the publication on the platform must:

  • have a total cost of at least EUR 1 million;
  • be in one of the pre-determined high economic value-added sectors, among which knowledge & digital economy;
  • be promoted by a public or a private entity based in one of the EU Members States.

Projects can be submitted in any of the 24 EU languages.

Find out more about the platform and register your project at this page.


Highlighted events

OECD SME Ministerial Conference on “Strengthening SMEs and entrepreneurship for productivity and inclusive growth”

From the 22nd to 23rd of February 2018
Organized by the OECD (INSME Moral Sponsor)
Mexico City, Mexico

INSME will participate at the OECD SME Ministerial Conference taking place on the 22nd and 23rd of February in Mexico City. Under the topic “Strengthening SMEs and entrepreneurship for productivity and inclusive growth” Ministers and delegations from OECD countries and emerging economies will share trends in SMEs policies and ideas through which SMEs can become a vehicle of inclusive growth.

The discussion will be focused on three main topics: Enabling SMEs to Scale-up; Enhancing SMEs access to diversified financing instruments and Fostering greater SME participation in a globally integrated economy.

Besides the Ministerial Conference there will be two side events on Building business linkages that boost SME productivity and Women’s Entrepreneurship organized in collaboration with the Mexican National Institute of the Entrepreneurs – INADEM (INSME Board Member).

For any further information, please have a look at the dedicated website at this link.

The 51st Asian Development Bank Annual Meeting

From the 3rd to the 6th of May 2018
Organized by Asian Development Bank (INSME Member)
Manila, Philippines

From the 3rd to the 6th of May 2018 the Asian Development Group will hold its 51st Annual Meeting in Manila, Philippines. Under the topic “Linking People and Economies for Inclusive Development” the event will gather finance and development ministers, central bank governors, private sector and civil society organizations, media and academia representatives that will be part of a unique platform to discuss, network and build partnerships with the final aim to explore ways to reduce poverty and promote inclusive growth in the Asia and Pacific region.

Find out more about the event at this page.

Future international meetings, workshops, seminars selected by INSME

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 10th to the 12th of February 2018
Third Africa Forum on STI: Building on Science, Technology and Innovation to Boost Private Sector and Socio-Economic transformation in Africa
Organized by African Development Bank Group (INSME Member)
Cairo, Egypt

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 6th of March 2018
Enhancing Consumer Protection in the EU: Preserving Consumers’ Rights in the Digital Society
Organized by Public Policy Exchange
Brussels, Belgium

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

On the 8th of March 2018
Implementing the Unitary Patent Protection and the Unified Patent Court: Current Situation and Future Challenges
Organized by Public Policy Exchange
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 25th to the 28th of March 2018
ISPIM Innovation Forum "The Innovation Game: Base Hits, Not Home Runs"
Organized by ISPIM (INSME Member) in partnership with MassTLC & D'Amore McKim School of Business
Boston, USA

From the 16th to the 20th of April 2018
E-Commerce Week 2018: Development Dimension of Digital Platforms
Organized by the United Nation Conference on Trade and Development (INSME Member)
Geneva, Switzerland

From the 23rd to the 25th of May of 2018
The ASTP-Proton Annual Conference on “Technology Transfer in a Changing World”
Organized by ASTP-Proton
Liege, Belgium

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