Ever wondered how innovative your country is? What about in comparison to its neighbours or overall in the region? The European Innovation Scoreboard is a European Commission initiative that provides a comparative analysis of innovation performance in EU countries, other European countries, and regional neighbours. It assesses relative strengths and weaknesses of national innovation systems and helps countries identify areas they need to address.
The Regional Innovation Scoreboard is a regional extension of the European Innovation Scoreboard, assessing the innovation performance of European regions based on a limited number of indicators.
European Innovation Scoreboard 2017
The 2017 edition of the Scoreboard presents a refined analytical framework. Rankings are therefore not directly comparable with previous editions, but time series using the new analytical framework allow performance to be tracked over time. New indicators capture investments in skills, digital readiness, entrepreneurship, and public-private innovation partnerships. In addition, a new toolbox with contextual data can be used to analyse and compare structural differences between countries.
The new scoreboard reveals that EU innovation performance continues to increase, especially due to improvements in human resources, the innovation-friendly environment, own-resource investments, and attractive research systems. Sweden remains the EU innovation leader, followed by Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, the UK, and Germany. Lithuania, Malta, the UK, the Netherlands, and Austria are the fastest growing innovators.
In a global comparison, the EU is catching up with Canada and the US, but South Korea and Japan are pulling ahead. China shows the fastest progress among international competitors.
Interested in finding out more? Have a look at country profiles, an interactive online score board and find out who is leading innovation in Europe.
Bottom-up innovation could be the competitive way forward for European advancement on the international stage across industrial sectors, and help to harmonise the current digitisation discrepancies across European industrial sectors. Digital innovation is necessary in order to keep up with the fast pace of digital technological change, but this fast pace can leave decision makers with difficult decisions regarding when to invest, to what level and in which technologies.
Currently around 60% of large industries and more than 90% of SMEs feel like they are lagging behind in digital innovation, which is why the European Commission (EC) has been actively developing Digital innovation hubs to ensure that every company, regardless of size and technological capabilities, can grasp digital opportunities.
There are already several initiatives and platforms from the EC that aim to shape the pan-European network of DIHs, with a focus on helping SMEs master their digital transformations:
- Innovation for Manufacturing SMEs (I4MS);
- Smart Anything Everywhere (SAE);
- Open Data Incubator Europe (ODINE);
- European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC);
- European Coordination Hub for Open Robotics Development (ECHORD++);
- Access Center for Photonics Innovation Solutions and Technology Support (ACTPHAST);
- Supercomputing Exercise for SMEs (SESAME NET);
- The call for tender EU13 DIHs;
- A thematic smart specialisation platform for industrial modernisation; and
With EU funding and the initiatives above, there has been not only an increase in competitiveness of existing industries, notably for SME and mid-caps, but also additional business creation in new digitised products and services. The EC aims to continue supporting these actions by channeling 500 million EUR over the next five years from Horizon 2020 budget.
For more information: https://ec.europa.eu
With a good idea, some investment and hard work, start-ups in the health and life sciences fields can get started in their local market. But if these firms are going to achieve meaningful growth, and if their innovations are going to benefit a wider audience, they will have to go abroad – which means understanding new regulations, a different culture and an unknown set of market realities.
This is where Product/Market Fit comes in. An EIT Health Accelerator programme, Product/Market Fit helps start-ups that have already established themselves in one market and are ready to expand beyond their borders. The support this programme offers has an estimated market value of EUR 25 000, but the opportunities it provides can be worth much more than that.
“Based on our experience in the Accelerator, grownup start-ups start needing support with going to other markets,” according to Katrien Van Gucht, a Co-Coordinator of the EIT Health Accelerator Strategy and Digital Health Program Manager at EIT Health partner IMEC. “We wanted to get in that sweet spot, right when they are ready to expand,’ said Johnny Waterschoot, who project manages European open calls for IMEC. “We are looking for companies that are ready to go beyond their borders, but lack the necessary funding to do just that. This programme will help them decide what markets to address next.”
According to Van Gucht, companies that are mature enough to qualify for this programme have typically raised about EUR 500 000 in investment and generally consist of two or three people. She said the companies obtain great value from the market testing that the programme can do. “The trial and error ratio of going out and seeing for themselves if they can make it in another market, we reduce this a great deal for them. They will see if they still need some work before they start growing in that market. Or the outcome could be that this market is not for them.”
If the entrepreneurs have the passion and drive to expand, the Product/Market Fit programme can provide them with many of the other tools they need.
Interested in finding out how to apply? Read more about the process here.
For more information: https://eit.europa.eu
Digital innovation, one of the themes of the SME Assembly 2017, is by far the biggest influencer, changing the way we do just about everything, from shopping to communication to running a business. Recently Gartner, Inc., revealed its top predictions for IT organisations and users for 2017 and beyond, focusing on three fundamental effects of continued digital innovation: experience and engagement, business innovation, and the secondary effects that result from increased digital capabilities.
- Augmented Reality
- By 2020, 100 million consumers will shop in augmented reality.
- Web Browsing
- By 2020, 30 percent of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen.
- Mobile App Abandonment
- By 2019, 20 percent of brands will abandon their mobile apps.
- Knowledge Algorithms
- By 2020, algorithms will positively alter the behavior of more than 1 billion global workers.
- Blockchain Technology
- By 2022, a blockchain-based business will be worth $10 billion.
- Digital Giants
- By 2021, 20 percent of all activities an individual engages in will involve at least one of the top-seven digital giants.
- Digital Innovation Costs
- Through 2019, every $1 enterprises invest in innovation will require an additional $7 in core execution.
- Internet of Things Data Demands
- Through 2020, Internet of Things will increase data center storage demand by less than 3 percent.
- Internet of Things Savings
- By 2022, Internet of Things will save consumers and businesses $1 trillion a year in maintenance, services and consumables.
- Health Care Costs
- By 2020, 40 percent of employees can cut their health care costs by wearing a fitness tracker.
Interested in Digital Innovation? Curious about what lies in store for 2017 and beyond? Find out more about the predictions and where digital innovation is set to take us in 2017…
Pragmatism, knowing what works and thinking practically, all powerful tools for those in the world of entrepreneurship, startups, scale-ups and SMEs. This month’s featured book is Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking by William James. The book explores the validity of ideas based on their experiential and practical consequences, as well as the philosophical concept of radical empiricism.
Part of entrepreneurship is looking at existing problems and finding solutions, which can also mean defining the problem itself, something that William James explores in this collection of essays. Using a simple yet entertaining anecdote, Does a man go around a squirrel that is on a tree trunk if the squirrel keeps moving on the tree to keep the trunk always between himself and the man?, James demonstrates that an important distinction must be made and defined, ‘what constitutes ‘going round’ the squirrel?’. While abstract this principle can certainly be applied to entrepreneurs, who re-define ideas and concepts through innovation and in turn find effective solutions.
For more information:
Stepping into the working world as a fresh graduate is already a daunting prospect, especially for those wanting to start out as entrepreneurs. Today Promoting Enterprise presents an innovative Irish project designed to support these young and brave innovators.
EEPA Special Mention project IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme from Ireland, is a 9 month business development programme designed to support recent graduates turn innovative product and service ideas into sustainable, scalable businesses and in doing so, develop critical entrepreneurial skills. This interview gives us an insight into their application journey, their advice for EEPA 2017 applicants and what to expect from the project team in future.
How did you first hear about the national competition and why did you decide to enter?
We heard about the competition via an email from Gillian Slattery, the Regional Development Executive at Enterprise Ireland. We had been running the programme since 2011 and the competition provided an excellent opportunity to see where we stood in comparison with similar programmes both nationally and internationally.
What was it like to receive a Special Mention?
It was very satisfying, we knew that we hadn’t been shortlisted for the main award so didn’t have any expectations. As a result it was a complete surprise.
How did winning immediately impact your work and what kind of response did you receive?
The award is very important as international 3rd party validation of what we are doing for funders, sponsors and others who have supported the programme. The award was very positively received by our Local Authorities – Cork City and County Councils and we received letters of congratulation from the President of the University and the Senior Vice President Academic and Registrar.
Why should others enter EEPA 2017? What advice would you give them?
It provided us with a valuable opportunity to step back and reflect on our project and we used the application process to provide a snapshot of the programme at that point in time. The Special Mention Award created a number of important opportunities to connect with others operating in the same space across Europe.
What are your plans for the future?
The plan is to double the programme over the next couple of years and to continue to develop the support offered to maximise the start-up success rate.
Calling all innovators! Do you know what is going to be happening in Malta on the 7th of March 2017?
The Ideas from Malta event is a collection of Ideas From Europe and Malta’s entries for business solutions to global challenges. If you are working on an idea that solves a global challenge, this is your opportunity to get recognised and gain the support you need to maximise impact. You can also nominate others.
From power, water & housing to education, healthcare & finance, if you are a Maltese / Dual citizen or resident of Malta building a solution to societal and environmental issues, we want you! Whilst the official deadline has passed you can still submit your ideas for consideration, feedback and guidance here.
Shortlisted innovators will be invited to present their idea at an event to be held in Malta on 7th March 2017. The winner will be Malta’s representative for Ideas from Europe. All innovators who submit an idea will be reviewed and provided with opportunities to further their development, including access to mentors, internships, partners and investors.
This is a unique opportunity to gain access to the partners and funding you need to reach your goals. Let’s help you get there and maybe even further: to the Ideas from Europe finals taking place at the SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn.
For more information: www.ideasfrommalta.com
Innovative business ideas can come from all sorts of people, as seen today in the next European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2016 winner interview. Read about these successful project journeys, and pick up their useful tips and tricks for future applicants.
This interview looks at one of the EEPA 2016 Special Mentions, Latvian project Radam Novadam (Create for County), represented here by project coordinator Andris Cheksters. This project, which received Erasmus+ funding that was granted by Agency of International Programms for Youth in Latvia, is a competition for students with three key objectives: To generate added economic value in Latvian regions, To discover and unleash the skills and abilities of students to help them along in their careers and finally to build a new generation of socially responsible entrepreneurs.
How did you first hear about the national competition and why did you decide to enter?
I first heard about the EEPA competition when I was working on the project, and thought it looked like a good opportunity. We were planning to launch the project one more time and thought that should we be recognised with this award that it might help us obtain the necessary funding to continue providing this opportunity for students to get into the entrepreneurial mindset.
How did you go about preparing your application?
We actually applied quite late in June, and in Latvia the national winners are announced in July so we did not have much time to prepare. It was actually a surprise when we found out we were national winners because we did not hear anything for quite a while so just assumed that nothing had happened and forgot about the application.
What was it like to win the award and what kind of response did you receive?
It was definitely a surprise and it felt good to be promoted on a European level. We actually were surprised twice, first by being announced as national winners and again when we found out we were going to be a special mention at the SME Assembly 2016 in Bratislava! It made our work feel appreciated and recognised, which is great for our project because the student teams in the competition can also benefit from extra exposure.
How did winning the award immediately impact your work?
It was not particularly big news on a national level, but it was a big thing both for myself and all the project partners. There were several articles written about the project, and the exposure the award gives definitely helped with our credibility. I am not sure if this is a direct result of the exposure, but around the same time we also managed to secure some funding we had applied for to help continue running the competition for students.
Can you already see a long-term impact or do you have any expectations?
The award has already helped in terms of scaling up the project, which really suits my vision for this project’s future. In future hopefully this project can be replicated across different European countries so that all European students and youth can start companies and use their local advantages in order to create international teams and in turn successful businesses. The project has a different structure to other ‘business idea’ competitions with a reality show style format and a focus on actual results and created economic values, so I want to bring this innovation and entrepreneurial opportunity to other European countries.
Why should others enter EEPA 2017? What advice would you give them?
This award provides recognition which is always good for project, especially if that recognition comes from a higher and recognised entity like the European Commission. This level of validity and credibility makes it much easier to launch a project or to look for funding, which is support we need with our innovative approach.
The project will re-launch again on 6 February to continue the search for inspiring entrepreneurs!
On the first day of the SME Assembly 2016, acclaimed French economist, Professor Philippe Aghion, gave the Inaugural Schumpeter ‘Innovation in Enterprise’ Lecture, during which he warned that people in countries who do not share in the wealth created by reform, and feel ignored, will respond at the ballot box. He declared that reform must be ‘inclusive’ and spoke of the power of innovation to produce social mobility.
Philippe Aghion is the Robert C. Waggoner Professor of Economics at Harvard University, an invited professor at the Paris School of Economics, and Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics. He talked of the need for many countries to undergo fiscal and structural reform in order for them to truly prosper, but added that reform alone would not be enough – countries must still be open and innovative. Comparing the US economy with European ones, he asked the audience ‘why is Europe not growing as fast as the US; why after the crisis are we on a very low growth path in Europe; and how can you deliver growth across Europe?’, to which he responded that the US is more ‘resilient’ and growing faster than Europe for several reasons, including the fact that it has a more proactive ‘macro-policy’, is more ‘counter-cyclical’ and has a more flexible labour market.
Some European countries need structural reform, and he stated that investment in infrastructure and structural reform are complementary, and unless this reform is implemented, the disadvantaged will react accordingly. What is required is “good education and good training” in order to help them attain employment and share in wealth creation. Innovation is also key because there is a “positive relationship between innovation and social mobility”. So, he argued, we should “encourage and reward the reformers”.
Professor Philippe Aghion delivered compelling arguments as to why reform is needed and how to go about aiding European economies to grow. He left the audience with much to contemplate including the following: “If we want to revive the idea of Europe, people to love Europe, Europe has to deliver growth. If we don’t deliver growth, it is over”.
The lecture was the first of the annual Schumpeter Innovation in Enterprise lecture series and is now available to watch here (37mins).
For further information, please contact:
Press & PR Manager for the SME Assembly and EEPA 2016
Tel: +44 7976 728 051
Petar Isirov an entrepreneur who formed part of the creation of Kartner-M, a privately held label printing company. They are based in Skopje in the Former Yugoslav Republic (FYR) of Macedonia and were founded in 2014. In this blog post, Petar talks about his motivation for starting a business and what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.
After talking with friends in the food and beverage industry, we realised that many local companies had problems with the quality of their labels. They couldn’t do marketing campaigns properly, and the quality of the labels made it difficult for them to export their products around the world. We saw an opportunity to bring something new to the printing industry in our country, something that would help many businesses.
We found the money we needed by pooling our resources and getting loans. We used it to buy the necessary machines and organise ourselves to work efficiently. Europe is a great place to be an entrepreneur because the business environment is always developing and improving. There are countless opportunities for entrepreneurs; all you need is the right idea. I believe Europe is very supportive of young entrepreneurs, which helps motivate young people to consider becoming entrepreneurs. However, more EU involvement in countries like FYR of Macedonia would benefit small and medium enterprises to develop their business more efficiently, and expand operations outside of their countries.
Persistence is essential for entrepreneurship because it’s difficult to succeed and even more so when you are a young, aspiring company. For me, a great leader is committed to a cause, outgoing and able to take responsibility and risks. They are able to motivate, have a vision for the company, have objectives and be aware of their surroundings.
For more information: www.kartner-m.mk