Issue N° 163 - March 2018
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In this Issue:


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Updates on the life of the INSME Network

The 14th INSME Annual Meeting is at the doorstep

On the 17th and 18th of May, the 14th INSME Annual Meeting on “Industry 4.0 for SMEs’ Business Growth” will analyse the impact of digitalization on SMEs operations and competitiveness. The challenges that come together with the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be investigated and possible solutions explored.

The European Parliament in Brussels will welcome a selected expert audience made up of policy makers, government representatives, businesses support organizations, innovation practitioners and entrepreneurs coming from more than 30 different countries worldwide who will share their experience on:

  • how to build a sustainable Innovation Ecosystem for Industry 4.0;
  • how the digital transformation is changing SMEs international competitiveness;
  • the rise of new business models and new value offers permitted by Industry 4.0;
  • challenges and opportunities of the Open Innovation approach and the issues in terms of IP protection that SMEs need to be aware of.

With a solid tradition in matching competences and sharing knowledge, the INSME Annual Meeting is a key event to receive insights on international innovation-related trends, get inspired by peers’ experiences and identify suitable partners for your projects.

Please note that this is a by invitation only event. For any clarification on how to get involved, please contact the INSME Secretariat at

The NEXT SOCIETY Advocacy Panel in Tunisia

On the 23rd of February, Tunisia hosted an high-level meeting to share views on the national innovation system, identify challenges, propose and prioritize measures to overcome them. The meeting was organized by CONECT (Conférération des Entreprises Citoyennees de Tunisie) and APII (Agency for the Promotion of Industry and Innovation - Tunisia) with the support of ANIMA Investment Network, and brought together the most relevant national stakeholders and international experts. Prof. Giovanni Zazzerini, INSME Secretary General, participated to the meeting to provide expert advice and gather relevant information to draft a proposal for a technical assistance mission to support the implementation of the measures discussed during the meeting, at a later stage.

The meeting was part of the activities organized in the frame of THE NEXT SOCIETY, an initiative funded by the European Union to mobilize entrepreneurs, innovators and corporate ecosystems to tackle the innovation and sustainable development challenges faced in the Mediterranean by targeting Europe and 7 Mediterranean countries (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan). INSME contributes as an affiliated entity to the project.

Further information about THE NEXT SOCIETY at this link.

INSME Secretary General at the Annual Seminar EuroLat Women’s Forum on “The challenges of Euro-Latin American women: the Digital Agenda and Access to Markets”

On the 19th of March the EuroLat Women’s Forum, an Euro-Latin-American Parliamentary Assembly on “The challenges of Euro-Latin American women: the Digital Agenda and Access to Markets” took place at the European Parliament in Brussels. The event was an occasion to discuss how digitalization and technological innovation are affecting the work environment and the implications that these trends are having on an effective participation of women in the labor market. The high-level conference counted on the direct experience of recognized experts, among them INSME Secretary General, Prof. Giovanni Zazzerini who intervened with a speech on “Digital Entrepreneurship: creating high-impact ventures by leveraging digital technologies”.

Find out more about the conference and the EuroLat Women’s Forum here.

Join the March session of the INSMEAcademy on “Blockchain and trust in the Internet of Things era: a unique business opportunity”

Technological advances are revolutionizing the ways in which commerce relations are handled. Today they are managed by digital systems, such as e-commerce and banking platforms, which must communicate through computational trust principles. With the advent of IoT, an even stronger need for trusted communication systems is emerging and giving rise to new, unique business opportunities for automated and smart-contracts regulated transactions that will be showcased during the March session of the INSMEAcademy.

The webinar on “Blockchain and trust in the Internet of Things era: a unique business opportunity” will take place on the 28th of March from 5.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. CEST.

Read the abstract available here to get more information about the session and the speaker and send an e-mail to to register.

News and contributions from the INSME Members

INTRASOFT International (INSME Vice President) was announced as the National Winner for Luxembourg for the International Expansion Award Category at the European Business Awards

INTRASOFT International (whose Senior Delivery Manager Mr. Raimund Broechler is holding INSME Vice Presidency) has been recognized as National Winner for Luxembourg for the International Expansion Award Category of the European Business Award. During the next phase of the contest, INTRASOFT International will compete with other European companies in the Germany Trade & Invest Award for International Expansion category during a ceremony taking place on the 22nd and 23rd of May in Warsaw.

This award acknowledges the 20+ years’ experience of INTRASOFT International as a multifaceted service provider of a diverse array of services, ranging from software development to digital communications, with an international breadth spanning from Australia to Bahrain and from Denmark to Morocco and beyond.

The INSME Secretariat congratulates with INTRASOFT for this important achievement and wishes the best of luck for the next phase of the competition!

For further information about INTRASOFT International and its services, please click here.

INSME Board Member Mr. Elio De Tullio at the IPBC Europe “Harnessing IP value in European Companies”

Mr. Elio De Tullio, INSME Board Member and managing partner of IP firm De Tullio & Partners, shared his expertise on effective IP protection strategies for European companies during IPBC Europe, an event on “Harnessing IP value in European Companies”, that took place on the 20th and 21st of March 2018 in Amsterdam. Mr. De Tullio moderated the session “What can you protect?” and guided the discussion towards the identification of key technologies affected by patent eligibility, a deeper understanding of how the approach in Europe differs from the United States and Asia, and the design of relevant tools to build a high-quality, enforceable international portfolio.

IPBC Europe is an initiative organized by IAM to focus specifically on the challenges facing IP managers inside European businesses looking to design and build sustainable strategies for a world in constant change.

To learn more about the conference, please visit the official website here.

EBAN launches the “EurInvest – Nations for Investors” Roadshow in collaboration with Amazon Web Services, Startup Europe and CEE-Released

An interesting initiative for private citizens and corporations willing to invest in start-ups and scale-ups across Europe has been kicked off last February by EBAN (INSME Member) with an event at the European Parliament: the European “Nation of Investors” Roadshow.

Through a wide range of activities, programs and conferences in each of the 28 countries of the EU, the European “Nation of Investors” Roadshow intends to pursue a double goal: on the one hand create a “Nation of Investors” from the private sector that will collaborate with the public one to support European startups in becoming global success stories and provide an important contribution to the field of science, technology, sustainable energy and social entrepreneurship. On the other, inspire and guide private investors to invest in entrepreneurs who aim at targeting not only their national markets but also the European and global ones.

The event was also an occasion for EBAN to announce a series of partnerships with Amazon Web Services (AWS) Activate program, Startup Europe and Cornerstone Communications that will represent a further occasion for supporting entrepreneurship around the world.

For further information, please have a look at this webpage.

European Investment Fund for SMEs: A map showing small and medium-sized enterprises supported by the European Union

The map developed by the European Investment Fund (INSME Member) provides an overview of SMEs that have received financial support through EIF-managed financial instruments (mainly guarantees and inclusive finance).

The map shows only financial support that was effectively disbursed and the figures should not be confused with expected mobilized resources. It is possible to select data by source of funding, year of financial support and sectors (e.g. manufacturing, mining, education, retail etc).

The map is being updated on a quarterly basis and adjusted to reflect (i) data from financial intermediaries on new beneficiaries and (ii) complementary data on existing beneficiaries.

To browse the map, please click here.


A new blog post on Lithuania participation to the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument

Dr. Edita Bagdonaite from the Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA), Lithuania analyzed the formula for success of Lithuanian enterprises participating to the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument with the support of the clients of MITA who agreed to share their good practice in a new post for the INSMEblog. According to them three are the main elements SMEs should take into consideration for a successful application to the SME Instrument: a) having a clear vision of the problem they want to solve with the business idea; b) developing a business idea which is international by nature to reinforce a company’s image c) a smooth cooperation and consultation with experts.

Read more about this topic here.

The INSME editorial staff welcomes blog contributions on a variety of innovation-related topics. If you are interested in publishing an article on the INSMEblog, please contact us at

Tenders, Calls & Consultations

2018 WTO Essay Award for Young Economists

The World Trade Organization invites young economists to submit papers addressing trade policy and international trade co-operation.

The winning essay will be announced at the annual meeting of the European Trade Study Group taking place in Warsaw, Poland in September 2018 and will receive an award of 5,000 CHF (ca. 4,200 EUR). In addition the winner will be offered the chance to publish the essay in the WTO Working Paper Series.

Interested contributors are expected to hold or be engaged in a PhD and, in case they are over 30 years of age, they must possess a PhD from no more than two years.

Young economists are invited to send their essay that must not exceed the 15,000 words and their CV to this e-mail address by the 1st of June 2018.

Find out more at this page.

The EaSI programme launches the call for proposals “Transaction cost support for social enterprise finance”

The European Programme for Employment and Social Innovation "EaSI" has launched a call for proposals to explore the best ways to complement the already existing financial instruments with a grant component to further promote the development of the social enterprise finance market and facilitate access to finance for social enterprises. In particular the final aim of the call is to increase the number of risk capital investments of below 500,000 Euro in social enterprises.

Activities financed under the call include: screening and processing of investment applications, providing investment readiness, scaling readiness or business restructuring support; managing the investments and monitoring social impact.

To be eligible applicants must be an investment fund, a Fund-of-Funds, a special purpose vehicle, in any form, established or to be established and based in a EU Member country, Iceland, Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey.

The EU grant requested should indicatively be between EUR 300 000 and EUR 1 million and the grant may not exceed 80% of the total eligible costs of the action.

The call will close on the 15th of April 2018.

Click here to get more information about the eligibility criteria and the application procedures.

2018 African Entrepreneurship Award

The African Entrepreneurship Award is an initiative promoted by the BMCE Bank of Africa to encourage the growth of business ideas across the African continent.

The award addresses young Africans with a business idea – expected to be or become a for profit business - that has a potential impact on Africa and that includes a technology component.

The proposed business idea must fit in one of the two categories: innovation and sport.

Eligible candidates interested in applying under the innovation category are expected to present new technologies or business models aiming at solving challenges that have never been solved in the region.

Finalists will benefit from a three-day boot camp and will pitch their ideas to the presidential jury that will determine the winner(s) and how the US $ 1 million award will be shared.

Applications will be open until the 30th of April.

Find out more about the award and the selection process at this page.


Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs

“Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs 2018” is the sixth edition of the OECD Scoreboard monitoring SMEs’ and entrepreneurs’ access to finance over the period 2007-2016.

According to the data collected the report finds out that new lending to SMEs declined in a majority of countries in 2016 despite more favourable credit conditions and low interest rates. The publication also shows that alternative sources of finance became more widely used: leasing and hire purchases rose in many countries in 2016, by more than 10% compared to 2015. Innovative sources of finance such as P2P lending, equity crowdfunding and invoice trading continued to grow in 2016 becoming widely used only in a few countries, namely China, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Worth to be mentioned is the fact that the median value for bankruptcies declined for the fourth consecutive year in 2016, by more than 7% year-on-year.

SMEs continue to be over-reliant on bank credit, as a consequence policy makers are designing policies to support access to a wider range of finance instruments. Many countries are drawing specific measures on crowdfunding activities, in particular to put in place an appropriate regulatory and supervisory framework.

To discover more on recent developments in capital market finance for SMEs, crowdfunding and related activities in 43 countries worldwide, please read the whole publication available at this page.

Inclusive Growth: Challenges and Opportunities for Central America and the Dominican Republic

The Inter-American Development Bank has recently published “Inclusive Growth: Challenges and Opportunities for Central America and the Dominican Republic”, a paper that by analysing challenges and opportunities for the region, also examines policies that can support medium-term, inclusive economic growth, while mitigating the risks of the current international juncture.

According to the publication, economic growth in Central America and Dominican Republic (CADR) registered a positive trend in 2017, despite this growth prospects for the next three years have been adjusted downward, by taking risks associated with key variables such as international interest rates, commodity prices – particularly oil – and U.S. trade policy into account.

From 2000 to 2017 unemployment fell from 8.2% to 7.0%, with informality sliding from 48.2% to 46.3% meaning that even though CADR grew more it was only able to increase by 3% the percentage of workforce with formal jobs. Data give evidence of the troubles the region meets in generating opportunities and highlights the need to set priorities to take benefit from the region’s growing labour force, market access, highly integrated financial systems that can impact on the region’s growth and citizens well-being.

The publication is available both in English and Spanish at this page.

The UNIDO Industrial Development Report 2018

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization - UNIDO (INSME Member) has recently published the 2018 edition of the Industrial Development Report (IDR) which analyses the driving forces of industrialization and the positive factors that can lead to social inclusiveness and environmental sustainability. This year’s edition takes an unexplored dimension of the industrial development into account: the consumption of manufactured goods.

The report shows that the consumption of new products can set in motion a virtuous circle of industrial development, demand diversification and income creation. It also highlights the role of manufacturing industries as major providers of new and improved goods and puts the attention on the fact that the incomes generated in the virtuous circle of consumption need to be distributed evenly across households in individual countries.

Industrial development offers numerous opportunities by contributing to a sustainable growth, but also poses challenges. The increased consumption of new products has significant effects on the environment that need to be mitigated by implementing support measures to the development of green industries and by removing barriers such as high prices, gaps in consumer awareness of environmental concerns and biases in purchasing behaviour.

Governments are also crucial, according to the report they have to recognize the role of the private sector as a driver of industrialization and engage with the private sector and other stakeholders to implement industrial development and as a consequence improve living standards.

The whole report is available at this page.

Recommended Website

The ASEAN Intellectual Property Portal

The ASEAN Intellectual Property Portal is a platform including information on ASEAN comparative systems and comparative IP-related data. The Portal facilitates information flow within the region's IP knowledge network and addresses:

  • business owners and IP agents who can get more information on the ASEAN IP Rights Action Plan 2016-2025; search existing trademarks, designs, patents in the Region; access contact information on ASEAN IP offices;
  • students and researchers who can access case studies or obtain statistics on IP filings in ASEAN.

The ASEAN Intellectual Property Portal is available at this link.


Highlighted events

The International SME Convention

From the 22nd to the 24th of April
Organized by India SME Forum in collaboration with the Indian Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
New Delhi, India

The International SME Convention (ISC) is an event organized by India SME Forum in collaboration with the Indian Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. From the 22nd to the 24th of April the top 500 Indian SMEs and International SMEs from over 30 nations will gather in New Delhi, India to build business partnerships, form joint ventures, and explore new test markets. The ISC will cover 36 focus-sectors, including renewable energy, consumer electronics, textiles, chemicals, construction, health products, and electronic systems and information technology.

To take advantage of the discounted rate of US$300 which provides participants with an all-access pass for the whole event, please register by the 1st of April.

Special focus seminars with extensive Q&A time will also be conducted for Women Entrepreneurs and startups covering topics ranging from setting up a business, finding financing, global business opportunities, growing a sustainable business. Speakers include successful women entrepreneurs from around the world.

The most innovative SMEs in key focus sectors, including – but not limited to – agro-based, environmental technologies, smart cities, consumer electronics, medicare, construction, IoT and renewable energy, and interested into business partnerships with Indian SMEs are also invited to apply for the Hosted SME Program.
Please note that the organizers of the conference will offer selected SMEs:

  • 2 All Access Passes
  • 10 Minute slot for Product Presentation in focus sector areas
  • 1 complimentary Expo Display Stall for showcasing innovative products at Convention
  • Business Matching & Diligence Services from India SME Forum & Facilitation for Deal/MOU signing at event
  • Complimentary Stay for 2 people in one Double Room for 3 nights at a partner hotel (4* or 5*) next to the venue. (Total cost: US$750 for 3 days).

More details are available here.

In case of any question send an e-mail to or have a Whatsapp chat with the organizers by contacting the following numbers + 91 7710000939 or +91 7710000960.

3rd Government Procurement and Contracting Conference and Exhibition – Moushtarayat 2018

Organized by Qatar Development Bank (INSME Sustaining and Board Member) and the Qatari Ministry of Finance
Doha, Qatar

Qatar Development Bank (INSME Sustaining and Board Member) and the Qatari Ministry of Finance promote the 3rd edition of the Moushtarayat 2018, an event organized under the patronage of the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani.

The initiative will gather representatives from the private sector, in particular small and medium enterprises, with the aim to support them to become active contributors to the diversification of the Qatari economy through the development of the professional experience necessary to support a broad array of local market needs.

Furthermore the initiative intends to contribute to the achievement of the economic and social development objectives outlined in the Qatar National Vision 2030.

Find out more at this page.

Future international meetings, workshops, seminars selected by INSME

From the 27th to the 28th of March 2018
Digitizing European Industry Stakeholders Forum 2018
Organized by the European Commission and the French Ministry of Economy and Finance
Paris, France

On the 5th of April 2018
OECD Global Forum on Development - "Working together to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals"
Organized by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development – OECD (INSME Moral Sponsor)
Paris, France

From the 10th to the 11th of April 2018
7th Annual Banking and Finance Conference on "Sustaining the Momentum in the Financial Inclusion Agenda"
Organized by Aidem Business Solutions
Lagos, Nigeria

From 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
Brussels, Belgium

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

On the 26th of April 2018
The World Intellectual Property Day
Organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization – WIPO (INSME Member)
Diverse events all over the world

From the 15th to the 16th of May 2018
Africa SME Finance Forum 2018
Organized by SME Finance Forum
Nairobi, Kenya

From the 17th to the 18th of May 2018
14th INSME Annual Meeting on “Industry 4.0 for SMEs’ Business Growth”
Organized by the International Network for SMEs - INSME
Brussels, Belgium

From the 19th to the 23rd of May 2018
140th Annual Meeting of the International Trademark Association
Organized by the International Trademark Association
Seattle, Washinghton, United State of America

From the 23rd to the 24th of May 2018
The European Business Summit
Organized by European Business Summit
Brussels, Belgium

From the 23rd to the 25th of May 2018
ASTP-Proton Annual Conference 2018 "Technology Transfer in a Changing Environment"
Organized by ASTP-Proton
Liège, Belgium

From the 29th to the 30th of May 2018
The OECD Forum “Bridging Divides”
Organized by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development – OECD (INSME Moral Sponsor)
Paris, France

From the 3rd to the 6th of June 2018
RSA Annual Conference on "A World of Flows: Labour Mobility, Capital and Knowledge in an Age of Global Reversal and Regional Revival"
Organized by the Regional Studies Association
Lugano, Switzerland

On the 3rd of July 2018
6th Annual Conference Unitary Patent & Unified Patent Court 2018
Organized by Premier Cercle
Munich, Germany

From the 2nd to the 5th of September 2018
35th IASP World Conference on Science Parks and Areas of Innovation on "Towards sustainable cities and communities: fostering innovation ecosystems”
Organized by the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation and Isfahan Science and Technology Town
Isfahan, Iran

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