Issue N° 165 - May 2018
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Updates on the life of the INSME Network

The 14th INSME Annual Meeting: a joint step towards Industry 4.0

On the 17th and 18th of May more than 100 innovation experts, SMEs stakeholders, intermediaries, economic players, entrepreneurs and researchers coming from 20 different countries worldwide gathered for the 14th INSME Annual Meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels to share experiences, insights and knowledge to fully embrace the opportunities coming with the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The exchange of ideas during the international conference was intense and provided a 360 degree view on Industry 4.0 from a policy, practitioner and academic perspective.

During the meeting INSME signed an agreement with the Global Coalition for Efficient Logistics, the German Association for Small and Medium-sized businesses - BVMW and the Italian Confederation of Small and Medium-sized Industries - CONFAPI for the launch of a Digital Economy Platform providing new digital tools that will ease access to finance, grow trade and increase job creation.

The General Assembly on the 18th of May was an inspiring moment to transfer innovation success models and connect INSME Members with unique business opportunities presented by European organizations. The visit to EUREKA Network’s offices in the afternoon of the 18th of May was also an occasion for getting aware of the diverse financing opportunities designed and handled by the Network that address potential beneficiaries coming from EU and non-EU countries.

The significance of the 14th INSME Annual Meeting has also been underlined by Hon. Elisabetta Gardini, Member of the European Parliament, who emphasized the important role this kind of initiatives plays to support the development of SMEs and entrepreneurship worldwide “… we welcome this initiative by INSME that since its set up fosters innovation in SMEs by promoting public-private partnerships and developing international collaborations.”

The INSME Team would like to thank all the members, friends and colleagues who, year after year, keep on making the annual meeting a unique platform for high-level knowledge exchange and peer learning among organizations supporting SMEs and innovation worldwide. A special thanks goes to the Global Coalition for Efficient Logistics - GCEL for sponsoring the initiative.

To recall some pleasant moments, please check the photo gallery available on the newly set up INSME Facebook profile at this link.

New expertise and competences enriching the Network: welcome to CONFAPI, the Italian Confederation of Small and Medium Industries

INSME is pleased to welcome a new Sustaining Gold Member on board: the Italian Confederation of Small and Medium-sized Industries - CONFAPI based in Rome, Italy. CONFAPI aims at safeguarding and promoting the interests of the small and medium enterprise industry at all levels and enhancing the development of SMEs through facilitating and stimulating effective dialogue between the government and social partners. CONFAPI also implements programs and initiatives to foster Italy’s economic development in conjunction with national and European organizations and institutions.

With the addition of CONFAPI, INSME can now count on the support of 63 members coming from 29 different countries.

To learn more about CONFAPI, please click here (please note that the website is in Italian).

To get further information on how to become an INSME Member, please visit this page.

INSME President at the European Congress of Local Governments in Poland

Given the extensive experience on policies for SMEs, INSME President, Mr. Sergio Arzeni, contributed to the fourth European Congress of Local Governments that took place on the 26th and 27th of April in Kraków, Poland. The initiative, organized by the Institute for Eastern Studies, welcomed nearly 2.000 people among regional authorities, government officials, business executives, NGOs, journalists from all over Europe to discuss how multilateral cooperation between European regions and cities is affecting politics and the economies of countries and share ideas on how to support them in these difficult times. In particular, Mr. Arzeni acted as a speaker to the debate dedicated to “How Can Local Governments Support Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises?” aimed at discussing issues such as the benefits SMEs bring to regional economies, the way in which self-governments support enterprises and where SMEs can look for public services.

To learn more, please click here.

News and contributions from the INSME Members

The Small Enterprise Development Agency - SEDA (INSME Sustaining Member from South Africa) supports the Southern African Business and Technology Incubation Association - SABTIA

Last April the Small Enterprise Development Agency - SEDA (INSME Sustaining Member from South Africa) launched SABTIA - the Southern African Business and Technology Incubation Association gathering individuals and/or incubators to support the growth of incubation both on a local and global scale. To fulfill its mission, the Association provides a range of services aiming at promoting and stimulating the knowledge economy; serving as an entry point for incubation in South Africa and developing good practices standards and methods for business incubators.

To receive detailed information about SABTIA services, please click here.

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

France will host the 17th International Entrepreneurship Forum on “Entrepreneurship North-South: the emergent, transformational axes of opportunity development”

From the 12th to the 14th of December, Nancy, France will host the 17th edition of the International Entrepreneurship Forum - IEF Conference an initiative organized by the IEF in close collaboration with the Essex Business School (University of Essex), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and its Local Employment and Economic Development (LEED) Programme, the ICN Graduate Business School of Nancy, and INSME.

The 17th IEF will explore the North-South dialectic of entrepreneurship and innovation with the multiple objectives of:

  • exploring the different roles entrepreneurship and innovation play in the economic and social development of developed, emerging and developing economies;
  • identifying the various connections of trade, technology and knowledge exchange, new forms of hard and soft infrastructure, diaspora and transnational opportunity creation, ecosystem linkages, to foster new economic and social systems based on entrepreneurship and innovation in the North and South;
  • working towards the development of entrepreneurship as a social global movement.

Read more in the conference notice downloadable here.

The European Investment Fund - EIF released the working paper “Venture Capital Survey 2018 - Fund managers’ market sentiment and views on public intervention”

The study presents the results of the first VC survey carried out by the European Investment Fund - EIF (INSME Member) addressing venture capital general partner (GP)/management companies based in the EU-28 and some additional countries (Norway, Switzerland and Turkey). The survey aimed at analyzing the VC market sentiment, the market weaknesses and public intervention, as well as the value added, products and processes of the EIF. On a general note, the study highlights that the state of business is positively perceived, with the vast majority of fund managers reporting an improvement over the last year and a positive outlook for 2018. Nevertheless some challenges in the European VC business have been pointed out by respondents: the exit environment, fundraising, and IPO market ranked as the first three main obstacles to overcome; recruiting high-quality professionals is considered another important challenge by VC-supported companies together with securing financing. Last but not least, respondents indicated as additional challenge the regulatory requirements applied in the European VC business which is largely expected to remain the same, bringing no significant change to the VCs’ state of business.

To learn more, please read the complete study here.

INSME’s Picks in the News

Ernst & Young recently announced the pilot of the Blockchain Analyzer

The EY Blockchain analyzer is a suite of blockchain audit technologies allowing to perform an in-depth review of cryptocurrency business transactions. The Blockchain analyzer has a double benefit: first of all it supports the EY audit teams in performing audits by gathering an organization’s entire transaction data from multiple blockchain ledgers and secondly it works as a testing of blockchain assets, liabilities, equity and smart contracts as companies adopt blockchain technologies.

Following the pilot phase, the next step will be to scale the technology, including the development of customized regulatory compliance and reporting nodes.

Learn more here.

Tenders, Calls & Consultations

The European Commission is looking for external experts to support the implementation of the European Structural and Investment Funds

The European Commission has launched a call for expression of interest with the aim to set up a list of external junior (with at least three years of experience) and senior (with at least seven years of experience) experts to support the implementation of the European Structural and Investment Funds in fields such as Smart Specialization; Strategy Development for Economic Development, Restructuring and Transition; Research & Innovation & Technological Development; Synergies between funds; Digital Agenda; SMEs; Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Socio-Economic Analysis; Interregional Innovation Partnerships.

Selected experts will evaluate proposals for the award of grants, tenders for procurement, projects submitted for the RegioStars award; they will be involved in conferences, workshops and seminars. Experts will also offer technical assistance for the follow-up and final evaluation of pilot projects and preparatory actions, technical advice and strategic guidance.

Experts shall be remunerated at a fixed price of 350 EUR/day worked for junior experts and 750 EUR/day worked for senior experts. The travel and subsistence expenses will be reimbursed under the conditions set out in the contract.

The deadline for submissions is the 4th of January 2022.

Find out more at this page.

The World Summit Award for Young Innovators

The World Summit Award is promoting an initiative for Young Innovators to recognize digital solutions with a social impact. Submissions can include web-based and mobile projects such as apps, webpages and interactive platforms that contribute to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The call is open to projects I) developed by young entrepreneurs born on or after the 1st of January 1988 or teams whose founder or majority of members are under 30 years old, II) delivering content-rich digital solutions to the user including individuals, businesses, and organisations, III) market ready or already launched on the market - no ideas or concepts are eligible.

Interested applicants are invited to submit their projects by the 31st of August 2018 at this page.

The Institute of Engineering and Technology Innovation Award

The Institute of Engineering and Technology celebrates new innovations in science, engineering and technology with an award open to entries from all over the world.
Submissions or nominations are open to 14 different categories among which:

  • Technology Transfer, welcoming innovation from all sectors that can range from research concepts and ideas to technical issues and industrial applications.
  • Information Technology, open to projects with a demonstrable commercial exploitation and/or that can impact on the society we live in.
  • Young innovators, welcoming innovative product that can help to solve or address a real world issue created by anyone aged from 18 to 35 years.

Winners will be invited at the Award Ceremony taking place on the 14th of November in London and will receive a trophy. Visibility to their innovation will be granted through the publication of dedicated articles on the IET Innovation Awards website and E&T magazine distributed to IET’s 169,000 Members. The deadline for submission/nomination is the 6th of July 2018.

Discover the award categories and how to submit or nominate an innovation here.


Blockchain Beyond the Hype. A Practical Framework for Business Leaders

Blockchain and digital transformation are radically changing businesses. In order to grasp the opportunities coming together with this revolution it is crucial that organizations understand that blockchain cannot be considered as a goal in itself but as a tool to be used in order to achieve specific purposes.

In this framework the World Economic Forum has released a toolkit based on real experiences of blockchain in diverse projects implemented in a variety of sectors and industries that have been analysed by the Imperial College of London.

The publication includes a tool enabling a rapid initial analysis of whether blockchain is an appropriate solution for a defined problem and assisting senior decision-makers in evaluating whether to deploy resources in exploring a blockchain-based solution to a given problem space and, if so, at what scale. The tool includes a series of questions that assist in defining if a blockchain is the correct approach for a particular business or not.

Discover more by reading the toolkit available here.

Digital Champions: how industry leaders build integrated operations ecosystems to deliver end-to-end customer solutions

The 4th Industrial Revolution is shaping our societies and the way we work and live. Companies need to embrace this disruptive change if they want to survive and remain competitive. As a matter of fact only a very few companies are successfully exploiting the opportunities offered by the 4th Industrial Revolution: these are called Digital Champions.

PwC has recently released a report including the findings of a study based on interviews to more than 1100 manufacturing executives in 26 countries. Based on the collected data the study highlights that among global regions, Asia-Pacific is leading the way to digitization; in Asia 19% of surveyed companies achieved the status of Digital Champion, compared with the 11% in America and the 5% in the EMEA Region (Europe, Middle East, Africa). Given the significant number of Digital Champions, Asia-Pacific companies are expected to register a 17% growth in digital revenue over the next five years, compared with the 15% in EMEA and 24% in America. A further interesting data is that digitalization and smart automation are expected to significantly contribute to the global GDP by 2030: up to 14% (ca. US$ 15 trillion in today’s value).

In order to fully embrace this revolution it is crucial to invest in people development and training and create multidisciplinary teams that foster innovation.

The results of the PwC study are available here.

Recommended website

The Innovation Radar

The European Commission promotes an initiative to identify high potential innovations and innovators in EU-funded research and innovation projects: the Innovation Radar.

As of today the Innovation Radar gives access to more than 3000 innovations developed by ca. 1900 organizations.

The platform is based on the information and data gathered by independent experts involved in reviewing ongoing projects funded by the EU (under Horizon 2020, Framework Programme 7 (FP7) or the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP)).

These experts also provided an independent view regarding the innovations in the projects and their market potential.

Discover the EU-funded innovations here.


Highlighted events


On the 20th of June 2018
Organized by EURADA
Charleroi, Belgium

The European Association of Economic Development Agencies - EURADA (INSME Member from Belgium) is organizing its spring event on the 20th of June: AGORADA 2018.

This year’s theme will be “Opportunities and success stories from Industry 4.0” and the event will aim to explore relevant issues related to the 4th Industrial Revolution such as: the approach to be adopted to embrace the industrial transformation; the consequences and opportunities; the initiatives and good practices carried out at European level and many others.

INSME Vice President, Mr. Andrea Di Anselmo (Founding Member and VP at META Group) and Mrs. Lucilla Lanciotti, CEO at R.Q. Srl (INSME Member from Italy) will actively intervene in the session investigating the Innovative financial tools to boost Industry 4.0.

To find out more and register please visit this page.

ANIMA Investment Network 2018

On the 26th of June 2018
Organized by ANIMA Investment Network
Tunis, Tunisia

ANIMA Investment Network (INSME Member from France) is organizing its Annual General Assembly in Tunis on the 26th of June.

The meeting will be hosted by the Tunisian Foreign Investment Promotion Agency and will be the occasion to elect the new Board for the mandate 2019-2021 as well as to present the Network activities and explore future initiatives and projects. On the afternoon a workshop will deepen the following themes: how to improve the impact of investment projects and how to mobilize expatriated talents in the service of investment. On the same day, the Annual Conference of The NEXT Society project - involving members and partners of the initiative - will take place.

More information about the event is available at this page.

Future international meetings, workshops, seminars selected by INSME

From the 3rd to the 6th of June 2018
2018 RSA Annual Conference “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

From the 17th to the 20th of June 2018
XXIX ISPIM Innovation Conference "Innovation, The Name of The Game"
Organized by ISPIM (INSME Member)
Stockholm, Sweden

From the 20th to the 22nd of June 2018
University-Industry Interaction Conference
Organized by the University Industry Innovation Network – UIIN
London, United Kingdom

From the 25th to the 27th of June 2018
EBAN Annual Congress "A Journey to the Digital Discovery and Transformation of our Universe"
Organized by EBAN (INSME Member) in collaboration with Eleven Ventures and the Bulgarian Business Angel Association
Sofia, Bulgaria

On the 26th of June 2018
Industry, Partnerships - a new impetus
Organized by the European Commission
Brussels, Belgium

From the 2nd to the 3rd of July 2018
Multi-year Expert Meeting on Investment, Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Productive Capacity-building and Sustainable Development, sixth session
Organized by UNCTAD (INSME Member)
Geneva, Switzerland

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

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 October 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 the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development - UNCTAD (INSME Member)
Geneva, Switzerland

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

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