Issue N° 162 - February 2018
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In this Issue:


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Updates on the life of the INSME Network

Join the 2018 INSME Annual Meeting at the European Parliament

The countdown to the INSME Annual event has officially started. On the 17th and 18th of May innovation players, researchers, financial actors, policy makers and SMEs representatives will gather in the prestigious location of the European Parliament in Brussels to share best practices and discuss the topic “Industry 4.0 for SMEs’ Business Growth”.

In particular, on the 17th of May the International Conference will address the following themes:

  • the innovation ecosystem needed for Industry 4.0
  • the international outlook of Industry 4.0
  • how disruptive technologies and new business models are reshaping organizations, industries and markets
  • open innovation as a driver for Industry 4.0

The second day will be dedicated to the INSME General Assembly and to pitching sessions where the most relevant SMEs organizations and institutions based in Brussels will meet with INSME Members for a unique occasion of networking and partnership building.

Please note that this is a by invitation only event. For any further information, please contact the INSME Secretariat at this e-mail address.

INSME President at the OECD SME Ministerial Conference in Mexico

On the 22nd and the 23rd of February Mexico City hosted the OECD SME Ministerial Conference on “Strengthening SMEs and entrepreneurship for productivity and inclusive growth”. Representatives from developed and emerging economies gathered to debate around three main topics:

  • Enabling SMEs to scale up - to discuss what governments can do to develop a conducive business environment for SME growth as well as the opportunities and barriers to the scaling up of start-ups and SMEs
  • Enhancing SMEs access to diversified financing instruments – to explore the role governments can have in easing SME access to appropriate sources of external finance and how policy can enable harnessing digital tools to strengthen SME access to finance
  • Fostering greater SMEs participation in a globally integrated economy - to analyze the challenges that SMEs face today to seize opportunities from a globally integrated economy.

INSME President, Mr. Sergio Arzeni, actively participated to the Conference, by intervening in the workshop on “Building business linkages that boost SME productivity” and providing insights on how clusters can help SMEs join global value chains. Once more this confirms the close relation between the OECD and INSME - that was established as a follow up to the first OECD SME Ministerial Conference held in Bologna in 2000.

More details about the Mexico City Conference organized in partnership with INADEM (INSME Board Member) are available here.

INSME Secretary General in the Advisory Board of the INVITE Project

INVITE is a EU co-funded project involving INTRASOFT International (INSME Vice-President) as partner and aiming at co-creating a well-connected European Open Innovation ecosystem where knowledge could be easily translated into marketable innovations bringing socio-economic benefits to EU citizens. An Advisory Board supporting the implementation of the project has been nominated and the INSME Secretary General, Mr. Giovanni Zazzerini, is one of the innovation experts that will provide inputs to the Consortium on the activities and tasks to be carried out in order to reach the project objectives.

The first meeting of the Advisory Board took place on the 15th of February in Brussels.

INSME welcomes Unioncamere as new Full Member!

INSME is proud to officially welcome a new full member whose competences and expertise will enrich the Network: Unioncamere, a public body based in Rome, Italy which represents the system of Italian Chambers of Commerce at institutional level. Unioncamere is in charge of managing and coordinating services and activities of interest to Italian Chambers of Commerce and in addition is responsible for stipulating agreements, arrangements and conventions with central government administrations, national or local bodies, with the ultimate goal of promoting and strengthening the link between the system of Italian Chambers of Commerce and businesses, consumers and employees’ organizations.

With Unioncamere INSME can now count on the support of 66 Members from 31 countries.

Discover how to become a member and take advantage of INSME services here.

News and contributions from the INSME Members

META's 2018 Challenge: become a Platform-based company

META Group (whose vice president and founder, Mr. Andrea Di Anselmo is holding the INSME vice-presidency) has announced new and stimulating challenges for the year ahead. In particular, as shared by Mr. Luigi Amati, CEO at META Group, in an interesting LinkedIN post, META is implementing its strategy to become a Platform-based company featuring:

  • The exploitation platform, to support the “Research Helicopter” activities devoted to the commercialization of research results
  • The investment platform, to better manage both pre-investment pipeline and actual investments and exit as well as to engage, inform and grow META private investors community
  • Knowledge management and internal communications enabling information flow and sharing of contacts, contents, etc.

META goal is to “identify, coach, invest in and build local start-ups and then take them to new markets and investors across Europe” and the planned digital transformation is essential to keep on pursuing this objective.

Read the whole contribution and discover more about META strategy here.

2017 Daejon Global Innovation Forum Report – an initiative of the World Technopolis Association and UNESCO

“Collaborative Innovation & Smart Infrastructure in the Era of Technological Convergence” is a report that summarizes the discussions and results of the 2017 Dajeon Global Innovation Forum held in September 2017 and organized by INSME Members World Technopolis Association and UNESCO.

The forum gathered innovation stakeholders from universities, research institutes, central and local governments, hi-tech productive sectors and civil societies to discuss and learn ‘how to understand and create a new scientific and technological revolution’. INSME Vice President Dr. Raimund Bröchler was among the invited speakers who agreed on the need to develop countermeasures to handle the socio-economic challenges generated by the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Read more here.

ITC, UNCTAD, WTO launch Global Trade Helpdesk

On the occasion of the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference held last December in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the International Trade Center – ICT (INSME Member), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development – UNCTAD (INSME Member) and the World Trade Organization announced the launch of the Global Trade Helpdesk. The platform aims at providing small and medium enterprises with trusted and accurate information needed to plan an expansion in international markets. Over three years the platform – that is now in a beta version – will be implemented with relevant and updated information facilitating trade and investment related decisions of MSMEs. It will address the problem of the lack of information transparency and the complexity of information sources and will support MSMEs to make fully informed trade and investment decisions that could lead to greater international trade activity. The Helpdesk will include an email alert system for registered users to receive individual, timely information on markets and products of their interest. The platform will be fully functional in 2020.

Find out more at this page.

ISBE launches new Special Interest Group in Creative Industries Entrepreneurship

The Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship – ISBE (INSME Member from the United Kingdom) has recently launched the new Special Interest Group (SIG) in Creative Industries Entrepreneurship. The SIG aims at:

  • supporting researchers in the field of creative industries entrepreneurship (CIE) by fostering a positive network and community to turn to throughout the year
  • providing a space to develop research ideas and collaboration from early career researchers to senior colleagues
  • encouraging the dissemination and publication of this important work in academic and non-academic publications.

If you are interested in joining the SIG, please forward your details to this e-mail address.

More information is available here.

INSME’s Picks in the News

Insights from Davos 2018

As every year Davos, Switzerland, hosts the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. From the 23rd to the 26th of January, this year’s meeting analyzed the topic “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World” and gathered world leaders in an effort to co-design, co-create and collaborate to shape a better future.

For the first time the Forum featured an all-female panel of co-chairs that highlighted the need for action on gender equality, underlining that the first step in this direction is education even though it is not enough. As emphasized by one of the co-chair Chetna Sinha, Founder and Chair of the Mann Deshi Foundation, financial access for everyone is crucial and she announced an alternative investment fund for female entrepreneurs, worth 100 million rupees.

Gender equality has been one of major issue of the forum, but the meeting has been the occasion to explore and debate the most relevant topics on the global agenda from environment to migration, from growth perspectives to the role big and emerging economies will play in the upcoming future.

With regard to economic projections, the International Monetary Fund raised its global growth forecasts for 2018 and 2019 to 3.9%, expecting the global economy to continue to recover. According to the IMF data India remains the world’s fastest-growing economy in 2018, with a projected growth rate of 7.4%.

Read more and have a look at the most relevant speeches at this page.

Full set of recommendations from the High-Level Group of Innovators to accelerate breakthrough innovation in Europe

On January 2017 the European Commission nominated an High-Level Group of 15 leading innovators whose recommendations will be considered in the drafting of the future EU research and innovation programme.

The group’s work resulted in the report “Europe is back: leading breakthrough innovation” including a series of recommendations to the European Innovation Council grouped into four sections: Funding, Awareness, Scale and Talent (“F.A.S.T.”). With regard to funding the report suggests to empower the innovators and incentivize private investments for example by simplifying current schemes into a small set of ‘EIC Awards’ supporting the scaling up of breakthrough market-creating innovation. According to the High-Level group it is also crucial to raise awareness of Europe’s innovation successes through a monitoring and information system and to communicate success stories. In order to scale up the European ecosystem needs to be fostered and access to risk finance for innovators improved.

These are only a few of the recommendations included in the report downloadable here.

About IPR…in South-East Asia

Handling of Trade Secrets in SEA: Focus on Thailand

Trade secrets are a valuable form of intellectual property that in most cases are not sufficiently considered by businesses. This is mainly due to a confusion on the definition of what trade secrets are, that this article by the South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk intends to clarify. The article also features a special focus on what a company interested in doing business in Thailand needs to know for the protection of trade secrets by law in the country.

To learn more, please download the article here.

Tenders, Calls & Consultations

European Commission public consultation on the review of the SME definition

The European Commission is currently considering an evaluation and possible revision of the SME definition as provided in Recommendation 2003/361/EC. The public consultation launched in February 2018 is part of this process and will be key to make sure that the SME definition meets its objectives in the current economic environment so that European small businesses can continue to receive customized policy support. Therefore national and regional authorities, enterprises, business associations or organisations, venture capital providers, research and academic institutions, and individual citizens are invited to fill in the online questionnaire at this link. The questionnaire is available in 23 languages and responses can be submitted until the 6th of May 2018.

For any additional information about the procedures for submissions, please click here.

IDB call for proposals about subnational government financing research of Ibero-American countries

The Inter-American Development Bank - IDB, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean - ECLAC, the Banco de la República de Colombia and the Universidade Tecnológica de Bolívar are looking for unpublished academic studies analyzing the current situation and new challenges related to the subnational government financing of Ibero-American countries.

The topics on which the research should be based are general fiscal decentralization frameworks and their relationship with macroeconomic challenges, efficiency and quality of subnational spending, subnational tax and revenue generation, subnational debt and financing, and the impact of programs to improve management at subnational level. The organizing committee will also consider proposals on local financing, such as mechanisms of intergovernmental coordination and their effectiveness; impact of new technologies on subnational financial management, among others.

The deadline for sending submissions is the 15th of May 2018.

Winners will receive a grant to present their research during the VII Ibero American Conference of Local Financing taking place on the 5th and 6th of September in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.

For the guidelines about the proposal format, please visit the following webpage.

The European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2018

The most creative and successful initiatives supporting entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized enterprises have now the chance to gain recognition on a European stage with the European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2018.
The Competition welcomes projects falling into one of the following categories:

  • Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit
  • Investing in entrepreneurial skills
  • Improving the business environment
  • Supporting the internationalisation of business
  • Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency
  • Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship.

During the first stage, contestants will take part in the national competitions, whose deadlines for submissions differ from country to country. Once the national competitions have taken place, submissions will be accepted to compete at the European level until the 3rd of July 2018.

Winners will be awarded during a prestigious ceremony taking place in Graz, Austria on the 20th of November as part of the annual SME Assembly.

For any further information on how to get involved, please click here.


The African Economic Outlook 2018

On the 17th of January the African Development Bank (INSME Member) launched the 2018 edition of its flagship report, the African Economic Outlook, analyzing recent macroeconomic developments and structural changes for all 54 regional member countries as well as providing an outlook on 2018.

The report highlights that African economies have been resilient: real output growth is estimated to have increased 3.6 percent in 2017 and to accelerate to 4.1 percent in 2018 and 2019. Even though the recovery of growth has been faster than expected, challenges remain especially when looking at structural transformations that would create more jobs and reduce poverty. Two main priorities for African governments have been underlined on this regard: economic diversification to encourage a shift toward labor-absorbing growth paths and investments in human capital particularly in the entrepreneurial skills of youth, to facilitate the transition to higher-productivity modern sectors.

The report also stresses a need for massive investments in infrastructure. To benefit from infrastructure development, governments should 1) put in place effective institutional arrangements to manage the complex tasks of project planning, coordination and regulation 2) work on the soft side of infrastructure development by training the teams involved in it and conducting constant research to keep up with the knowledge frontier.

To read the complete report, please click here.

Towards the implementation of the G20 Roadmap for Digitalisation: Skills, business dynamics and competition

Over the last years, digital economy has been recognized as a critical policy area for G20 countries to address.

To support the Roadmap for Digitalisation agreed upon in Hamburg, Germany by G20 leaders, the OECD (INSME Moral Sponsor) released this report focusing on three key areas for policy action identified in the Roadmap. The report intends to support the G20 discussions through evidence-based analysis on:

  • digital literacy and skills development for the digital economy;
  • the promotion of favourable conditions for the development of the digital economy as well as entrepreneurship, investment and innovation through effective contestability of markets;
  • an outlook on the potential evolution of regulatory structures that may affect digitalization over time.

To download the report and get more insights, please click here.

Interesting Initiative

The International Innovation Scorecard

The Consumer Technology Association released the International Innovation Scorecard, assessing critical areas of national policy that enhance innovation as well as elements that are preventing innovation to prosper to its full potential.

The Scorecard analyzes 38 countries and EU Member countries according to 12 different categories. In particular the Scorecard examines issues such as the amount of R&D spending as a percentage of GDP, the level of entrepreneurial activity, human capital, tax friendliness or broadband speed and cost.

It is possible to browse data in this interactive map or compare the results by country here.


Highlighted events

Financing Innovation in a Turbulent World – Actors, Logics, Tools

23rd of March 2018
Organizing committee: Daniele ARCHIBUGI (CNR ROME, Italy), Thierry BURGER HELMCHEN (Univ. Strasbourg, France), Andrea FILIPPETTI (CNR Rome, Italy) Blandine LAPERCHE (ULCO, France), Nadine LEVRATTO (Univ. Nanterre La Défense), Maria VITALI VOLANT (RRI)
Rome, Italy

On the 23rd of March the National Research Council in Rome will host the workshop “Financing Innovation in a Turbulent World – Actors, Logics, Tools” aiming at analyzing the quantitative evolution of the financing of innovation as well as the more qualitative aspects. In particular the workshop will analyze the main theme across four sessions focusing on:

  • Innovation policies and the financing of innovation
  • Firms’ innovation strategies
  • Funding sources and management of innovation processes
  • Corporate Venturer and entrepreneur: a specific relationship for innovation.

The organizing committee of the initiative can count on eminent representatives from research centres and universities, including INSME Member Prof. Nadine Levratto [CNRS Research Professor, EconomiX CNRS-University Paris Nanterre Research Unit & President of the Observatory on Practices of Entrepreneurs and Enterprises (OPEE) France].

To register, please fill in the form at this link by the 6th of March.

To learn more about the programme, please click here.

Future international meetings, workshops, seminars selected by INSME

From the 13th to the 15th of March 2018
World Economic Forum on Latin America
Organized by the World Economic Forum
São Paulo, Brazil

On the 14th of March 2018
Achieving a Business-friendly Environment in the EU: Revitalising the European Agenda on SMEs
Organized by Public Policy Exchange
Brussels, Belgium

On the 14th of March 2018
ROME! IPforBusiness Training
Organized by the European IPR Helpdesk and the European Patent Academy in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Economic Development
Rome, Italy

On the 19th of March 2018
Annual Seminar - EuroLat Women’s Forum on “The challenges of Euro-Latin American women: the Digital Agenda and Access to Markets”
Organized by Foro EuroLat
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 20th to the 22nd of March 2018
2018 TCI European Conference
Organized by TCI Network in collaboration with Sofia Municipality, the Association of Business Clusters of Bulgaria and Consulting Cluster Veritas
Sofia, Bulgaria

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 27th to the 28th of March 2018
Digitising European Industry Stakeholder Forum 2018
Organized by the European Commission and the French Ministry of Economy and Finance
Villepinte, France

On the 5th of April 2018
OECD Global Forum on Development - "Working together to achieve the Sustainable Developement Goals"
Organized by the OECD (INSME Moral Sponsor)
Paris, France

On the 16th to the 18th of April 2018
24th Annual EARMA Conference 2018 "Building and Sustaining Excellent Research Support"
Organized by EARMA - The European Association of Research Managers and Administrators (INSME Partner)
Brussels, Belgium

On 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 April 2018
ASTP-Proton Annual Conference 2018 "Technology Transfer in a Changing Environment"
Organized by ASTP-Proton
Liège, Belgium

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