Issue N° 164 - April 2018
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Updates on the life of the INSME Network

The 14th INSME Annual Meeting: the place for knowledge sharing, mutual learning and network building

The most important event of the INSME Association is rapidly approaching. On the 17th and 18th of May innovation practitioners, governments and SMEs representatives, researchers and officials from international organizations from more than 30 different countries will gather at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium to explore trends, opportunities and challenges related to the theme “Industry 4.0 for SMEs’ Business Growth”.

The International Conference on the 17th of May, the partnership building and the EUREKA informative sessions on the cluster program in advanced manufacturing scheduled for the 18thof May are promising to make the INSME Annual Meeting a unique experience for knowledge sharing and mutual learning on how digitalization is impacting the SMEs sector and for the reinforcement of the network building capacity of participants to kick off joint projects.

Among the experts that have already confirmed their participation, there will be Mr. Gregory Bird and Captain Samuel Salloum respectively Deputy Secretary General and Co-Chairman at the Global Coalition for Efficient Logistics (INSME Sustaining Member from Switzerland); Mr. Chris Decubber, Technical Director of the European Factories of the Future Research Association - EFFRA, Belgium; Mr. Patrick Meinhardt, Head of Politics at Der Mittelstand - BVMW, Germany and Executive Board Member at European Entrepreneurs; Ms. Simone Zeh Atanasovski, Principal at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development - EBRD, United Kingdom. In addition INSME is particularly proud to count on the well-recognised expertise of many of its valued members who will enrich the agenda and whose competences and best practices are going to make the event a big hit by stimulating the debate on both days. Please check the draft agenda available here to discover the confirmed speakers.

Stay up to date by following us the @INSME_ and contact the INSME Team at for more information.

INSME President at the International Conference on “The Spring of Innovation - Financing Innovation in a Turbulent World – Actors, Logics, Tools”

The Research Network of Innovation and the Italian National Research Council – CNR organized “The Spring of Innovation - Financing Innovation in a Turbulent World – Actors, Logics, Tools”, an International Conference that took place on the 23rd of March in Rome, Italy.

The event aimed at discussing the quantitative evolution of the financing of innovation as well as the more qualitative aspects, which include actors, forms and tools of financing and their impact on the dynamics of innovation.

INSME President Mr. Sergio Arzeni chaired the session on “Innovation policies and the financing of innovation” while INSME Member Prof. Nadine Levratto (CNRS Research Professor, EconomiX CNRS-University Paris Nanterre Research Unit) was among the eminent speakers of the conference.

Please find the programme and the book of abstracts at this page.

INSME contributing to THE NEXT SOCIETY advocacy panel for an innovation policy agenda in Egypt

On the 23rd of April INSME Secretary General, Mr. Giovanni Zazzerini participated to the National Advocacy Panel for an Innovation Policy Agenda in Egypt. The initiative was promoted by TIEC (Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center) with the support of GAFI (General Authority For Investments) and ANIMA Investment Network (INSME Member from France) in the frame of THE NEXT SOCIETY, a project funded by the European Union. Mr. Zazzerini gave a presentation on how to overcome obstacles in the transition phase from start-up to scale up.

As an affiliated entity to the project INSME is actively taking part to the Advocacy Panels during which target countries’ policy makers, entrepreneurs and relevant stakeholders in collaboration with international experts analyse the innovation ecosystem and identify challenges and priorities that will be addressed through technical assistance programmes that INSME is expected to deliver by drawing on its wide basin of experts.

Find out more about The NEXT SOCIETY at this page.

News and contributions from the INSME Members

How can businesses offering responsible products and services stand out to consumers?

Responsible products and services are emerging as a huge market opportunity and in order to take out the most from it and compete with larger companies, small and medium enterprises have to communicate more effectively with consumers. The francophone office of the Network for Business Sustainability – NBS (INSME Member from Canada) released a report in March 2018 presenting five strategies for SMEs seeking to expand market share:

  • Make a broader argument to avoid “green marketing myopia” that according to the definition reported in the publication is “overstating the effect of environmental arguments on consumers’ choices; thinking that saying that the product will lead the consumer to buy it or pay more for it; focusing on the responsible argument at the expense of other arguments”.
  • Fight negative beliefs about responsible products, by emphasizing the strength or effectiveness of the product/service.
  • There is a gap between what people say and do when it comes to their sustainability journey, therefore it is advisable to address the consumer’s tendency to walk away from responsibilities for example by providing consumers with clear and simple information or by sharing the positive impacts of responsible purchasing.
  • Share the history of the product, service or business: telling the story behind the product or service lets consumers better understand the company’s responsible actions and identify with the business.
  • Know the different needs of the links in the “chain of customers”.

Find out details on the proposed strategies here.

EURADA’s position paper on Cohesion Policy

The European Cohesion Policy aims to accelerate socio-economic development, reduce disparities, make structural adjustments and facilitate industrial conversion throughout Europe. It is not exclusively based on financial investments, it also underpins a policy framework for an integrated regional development that enables regions to enhance their specific economic strengths.

The cohesion policy plays a crucial role for the economic growth and prosperity of the regions which are its main beneficiaries. As shown by the DG Regio of the European Commission the cohesion policy contributed to the increase of the GDP up to 4% in some EU countries. By taking the role of paramount importance of this measure into account, the European Association of Development Agencies – EURADA (INSME Member from Belgium) has recently released a position paper including a series of recommendations to be considered to reformulate the cohesion policy after 2020. According to the paper it is advisable a minimal reduction in the budget since the cohesion policy is an investment that pays back in economic growth. EURADA also suggests to adopt a flexible approach for future regulations as it will improve stakeholders’ familiarity with legislation and enhance cohesion policy’s impact.

Discover more about the cohesion policy and EURADA recommendations by reading the position paper available at this page.

What are the skills businesses look for in young people? Participate at the survey of the Erasmus+ project Boats4Schools: an educational challenge

T2i – Technology Transfer and Innovation (INSME Member from Italy) is among the partners of the Erasmus + Boats4Schools: An educational challenge, a project aiming at increasing the interest and enhancing the skills of European students in STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. In this framework the project partners invite entrepreneurs and employees to take part in a short questionnaire that will support the consortium in identifying measures to be adopted to raise students’ interest in STEAM and by doing so improving the skills that could facilitate the access to the job market.

To participate to the questionnaire please click here.

If you wish to learn more about the project you can contact t2i at this page.


The challenges of Industry 4.0 for small and medium sized enterprises

Small and medium enterprises tend to show greater deficits in terms of implementation of Industry 4.0 compared to big companies. In this analysis for the INSMEblog, Dr. Christian Schröder, project manager at the IfM Bonn, Germany (Institut für Mittelstandsforschung) looks at the patterns of integration of Industry 4.0 solutions by companies and examines the connection between different firm-specific factors and the degree to which small and medium-sized companies digitized their business processes in the manufacturing sector in three German federal states: North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria, and Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Read the results of the study here.

INSME’s Picks in the News

Enterprise Singapore: the new single agency launched to support the growth of Singaporean companies of all sizes

Enterprise Singapore is a newly founded governmental agency which is the result of the merger between International Enterprise Singapore and SPRING. The mission of the agency is to grow stronger Singaporean enterprises by building capabilities and accessing global opportunities, thereby creating good jobs for Singaporeans.

Enterprise Singapore will offer both financial and non-financial support to local companies that are planning to expand their business locally and internationally, as well as foreign industries interested in exploiting the opportunities offered by the vibrant Singaporean economy.

Have a look at the Enterprise Singapore website for more details.

Tenders, Calls & Consultations

The Global SME Finance Awards

The SME Finance Forum, a global membership network aiming at expanding the access to finance for small and medium businesses, is currently looking for outstanding achievements in delivering digital financial products and services addressing SMEs. Banks, financial institutions and fintech companies that have successfully launched an innovative product or service for SME clients, achieved remarkable results in providing finance to SMEs, or are innovators in digital financial services are eligible to be nominated for the Global SME Finance Awards.

Each institution can be considered for up to two among the following award categories:

  1. SME Bank of the Year
  2. Product Innovation of the Year
  3. Responsible Digital Innovator of the Year.

Winners will be announced during the Global SME Finance Forum 2018 taking place on the 5th of November in Madrid, Spain.

The deadline for nominations is the 15th of June 2018.

For any further information about the Awards, please click here.

The Next Generation Internet Awards 2018

The Next Generation Internet (NGI) initiative has been launched by the European Commission with the aim of making the future internet an interoperable platform ecosystem embracing values such as openness, inclusivity, transparency, privacy, cooperation and protection of data.

The Next Generation Internet Awards 2018 will recognize important achievements in this field in three main categories: NGI Research and Education Awards, NGI Start-up Awards and NGI Culture Awards.

Winners will receive money prizes of € 15.000, € 10.000 and € 5.000 for each award category.

Nominations can be submitted until September 2018.

For any further information about the initiative and the eligibility criteria, please visit this page.


US Small Business Administration report on equity crowdfunding

Regulation Crowdfunding is the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s new investment crowdfunding rule which went into effect on May 2016 and enabling small businesses to raise up to $1,000,000 annually by offering and selling securities through internet-based crowdfunding campaigns. This Small Business Administration Report by Economist Lindsay Abate analyses first trends and impact following the entering into force of the new regulation. The report highlights that:

  • small businesses raised more than $30 million during the first year of equity crowdfunding activity, with an average of $289,000 raised in a successful campaign;
  • geographical clustering was worth of notice, with 50% of firms being located in California, Florida and Texas;
  • equity crowdfunding was particularly appealing to young firms. A third of firms were six months or younger when initiating their crowdfunding campaign, and 88% were five years or younger at the time of filing.

The report also provides insights on the typologies of firms that raised capital through this type of crowdfunding in terms of firm location, legal structure, firm age, employment and leadership gender.

To read more on the topic, please click here.

KPMG Changing Landscape of Disruptive Technologies 2018 publication - Tech Hubs Forging New Paths to Outpace the Competition

This report now in its sixth edition features the results from the KPMG’s annual survey of more than 750 global technology industry leaders including start-up entrepreneurs and FORTUNE 500 executives, the majority of them representing the C-suite.

The report is divided into two main chapters:

  • The first one dedicated to “Tech hubs forging new paths to outpace competition” highlighting that U.S. and China dominate the tech leadership charts while India, Japan and the U.K. are markets worth of monitoring. In addition Shanghai, Tokyo, London, New York, Beijing and Singapore are expected to become leading technology innovation hubs in addition to Silicon Valley/San Francisco.
  • The second one is focused on “Disruptive technology trends and barriers to commercialize emerging technologies”. Among the main tendencies, the chapter shows that more than 90 percent of startups declared they would hire up to 100 talented employees in the near future to gain competitive advantage.

To learn more, please download the report here.

OECD-EUIPO: Trade in Counterfeit Goods and Free Trade Zones

Free Trade Zones – FTZ represent a way to spur economic development: by providing tax advantages and other regulatory exemptions they have proven to boost trade facilitation, business formation and foreign investments. Even though the benefits of FTZ are undeniable there might be the risk they can be misused by criminal organizations to traffic and smuggle counterfeit and pirated goods. This report by the OECD and EUIPO aims at investigating the links between trade in counterfeit and pirated goods and free trade zones through an analysis of a unique dataset, which combines data on the characteristics of free trade zones in more than 130 countries with EUIPO-OECD dataset on counterfeit export intensity. Among diverse findings, the analysis shows that:

  • an additional free trade zone within an economy is associated with a 5.9% increase in the value of counterfeit exports;
  • a 1% increase in the value of export from free trade zones increases the value of counterfeit exports by 0.28%;
  • a 1% increase in the number of firms operating in free trade zones increases the value of counterfeit exports by 0.29%;
  • a 1% increase in the number of employees working in free trade zones increases the value of counterfeit exports by 0.21%.

To learn more insights, please read the report here.


Highlighted events

EBAN Annual Congress

From the 25th to the 27th of June 2018
Sofia, Bulgaria

EBAN (INSME Member from Belgium) together with Eleven Ventures and the Bulgarian Business Angel Association is organizing the EBAN Annual Congress 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria from the 25th to the 27th of June 2018.

This year’s event is focused on “A Journey to the Digital Discovery and Transformation of our Universe” and will gather more than 300 participants from the early stage investing market as well as 50 startups from all over Europe and beyond.

Among the diverse opportunities of networking and deal-making with experts in the field, the EBAN Annual Meeting will offer a not-to-be-missed chance of visibility and recognition for start-ups willing to pitch their idea in front of investors and partners. Please check this link to join the competition and submit your application by the 1st of May.

For any further information about the EBAN Annual Meeting, please keep an eye on this website featuring constant updates about the initiative.

XVI International Triple Helix Conference 2018
The Triple Helix and Beyond – a New Era

From the 5th to the 8th of September 2018
Manchester, UK

The XVI Triple Helix Conference 2018 will take place at The University of Manchester from the 5th to the 8th of September 2018 and will attract representatives from academia, government, business, and community to share success models and advance the frontiers of knowledge about collaboration for economic progress, social development and sustainability, and the role of cities and regions as enabling spaces for these interactions.

The main topic “The Triple Helix and Beyond – a New Era” will be addressed through six main themes: geographical and sectoral dimensions of the triple helix; policy and governance of the triple helix; the triple helix in transition and emerging economies; socially responsible innovation and the quadruple helix and micro foundations of the triple helix: new actors, relationships, and business models. Three keynote speakers have already confirmed their attendance and will enrich the debate with their own experiences: Mr. Iain Buchan, Microsoft Research, UK; Ms. Maryann Feldman, University of North Carolina, USA and Maureen McKelvey, University of Gothenberg, Sweden.

Please note that the early-bird registration deadline is the 11th of June.

For any further information, please visit the official website at this link.

Future international meetings, workshops, seminars selected by INSME

From the 3rd to the 4th of May 2018
Smart Specialisation and Technology Transfer as Innovation Drivers for Regional Growth
Organized under the auspices of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU
Sofia, Bulgaria

From the 3rd to the 6th of May 2018
51st Asian Development Bank Annual Meeting
Organized by Asian Development Bank (INSME Member)
Manila, Philippines

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 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
OECD Forum 2018
Organized by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (INSME Moral Sponsor)
Paris, France

On the 30th of May 2018
Patenting Artificial Intelligence
Organized by the European Patent Office - EPO
Munich, Germany

From the 3rd to the 6th of June 2018
Regional Studies Association 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 5th of June 2018
The Annual Science|Business Framework conference on “Innovative Europe? Time for a new EU innovation strategy”
Organized by Science Business Network
Brussels, Belgium

On the 3rd of July 2018
6th annual conference Unitary Patent & Unified Patent Court 2018
Organised by Premier Cercle and the EPO
Munich, Germany

From the 2nd to the 5th of September 2018
IASP World Conference
Organized by the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation - IASP and the Isfahan Science and Technology Town - ISTT
Isfahan, Iran

From the 10th to the 11th of September 2018
The European Innovation Council's Innovators Summit
Organized by EASME in cooperation with Berlin Partner
Berlin, Germany

From the 16th to the 18th of September 2018
21st TCI Network Global Conference "Unexpected Connections - Collaborating to Compete: Clusters in Action"
Organized by TCI Network
Toronto, Canada

From the 22nd to the 25th of October 2018
2018 World Investment Forum "Investing in Sustainable Development"
Organized by UNCTAD (INSME Member)
Geneva, Switzerland

From the 19th to the 21st of October 2018
2018 SME Assembly
Organized by the European Commission
Graz, Austria

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