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2019 innovation scoreboards: The innovation performance of the EU and its regions is increasing

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Europe needs to deepen its innovation capability to compete on global markets and maintain and improve the European way of life, as called for by the European Council as recently as June 2018 and March 2019. That is why the Juncker Commission has set a new level of ambition for the EU and its Eu countries and regions, and proposed horizon Europe, the most ambitious research and innovation programme ever. This will keep the EU at the forefront of global research and innovation.

The European Commission’s 2019 European innovation scoreboard and Regional innovation scoreboard published today show that the EU’s innovation performance has been improving for four years in a row. For the first time ever, Europe’s innovation outperforms that of the United States. However, the EU continues to lose some ground to Japan and South Korea, and China is catching up fast. The data complements the Commission’s recent country-specific recommendations (CSRs) in the framework of the European semester, which highlight the role of research and innovation and include recommendations to enhance productivity growth and competitiveness.

The 2019 European innovation scoreboard: key findings

  • Based on their scores, EU countries fall into four performance groups: innovation leaders, strong innovators, moderate innovators and modest innovators. Sweden is the 2019 EU innovation leader, followed by Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands. The United Kingdom and Luxembourg dropped from the top rank of innovation leader status to the strong innovators group, while Estonia joins the strong innovators group for the first time.
  • On average, the innovation performance of the EU has increased by 8.8% since 2011. Since 2011, the innovation performance increased in 25 EU countries. Performance has increased the most in Lithuania, Greece, Latvia, Malta, the United Kingdom, Estonia, and the Netherlands, and decreased the most in Romania and Slovenia.
  • At the global level, the EU has surpassed the United States. The EU’s performance lead over Brazil, India, Russia, and South Africa remains considerable. However, China is catching up three times as fast as the EU’s innovation performance is growing. Relative to Japan and South Korea, the EU has been losing ground.
  • In selected areas of innovation, the best performing EU countries are: Denmark – human resources and innovation-friendly environment; Luxembourg – attractive research      systems; France – finance and support; Germany – firm investment; Portugal – SME innovators;Austria – linkages; Malta – intellectual assets; Ireland – employment impacts and sales impacts.

The 2019 regional innovation scoreboard: key findings

The 2019 scoreboard is accompanied by the regional innovation scoreboard. It provides a comparative assessment of performance of innovation systems across 238 regions of 23 EU countries, while Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Luxembourg, and Malta are included at the country level. In addition, the regional innovation Scoreboard also covers regions from Norway, Serbia, and Switzerland.

The most innovative regions in the EU are Helsinki-Uusimaa, Finland followed by Stockholm, Sweden and Hovedstaden, Denmark. For 159 regions, performance has increased in the 9-year observation period. This year’s regional innovation scoreboard demonstrates a strong convergence in regional performance with decreasing performance differences between regions.

Read the full article on the EASME website.

European cluster conference: Connecting Ecosystems

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The 6th edition of the European cluster conference took place during 14-16 May 2019 in the palace of Parliament in Bucharest, hosted by the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU. The event theme was ‘Connecting ecosystems: bridge. inspire. change.’

The conference was organised by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs in cooperation with the Romanian Ministry of Economy. It gathered 450 national and regional cluster policy-makers and practitioners from industry, research and academia.

Director Slawomir Tokarski at the Directorate-General for Industry opened the conference by highlighting that “clusters can provide solutions to the challenges we face: changing economies, changing climate and changing attitudes” which corresponded to the 3 breakout session topics: Digitalisation and skills gap, Circular Europe and Shared value and social impact.

The Secretary of State at the Romanian Ministry of Economy, Călin Bodea, gave a welcome speech. After which, a high-level policy roundtable with ministry representatives from 6 EU countries (Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Spain) stressed the link of clusters with strategic value chains, supporting the scaling-up SMEs and investing in skills, while highlighting the need for trust-building to make connections work.

The conference featured 2 keynote speeches

  • Bianca Dragomir, European cluster manager of the year 2016 presented 7 stepping stones for ‘clusters of change’ so they can catalyse change at speed and scale
  • Markku Markkula, First Vice-President of the Committee of the Regions, emphasised the need to look at regional vale chains and innovation ecosystems and to focus on the sustainable development goals

During the 3-day event, participants also had a chance to

  • listen to a panel discussion on how to stimulate strategic interregional collaboration
  • take part in interactive group discussions, addressing their key needs, emerging hot topics, as well as how to master digital transformation and sustainability and to create shared value
  • get an overview of the different cluster-related EU initiatives and their linkages from a session with the participation of 7 Commission directorate-generals and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology
  • connect with each other during a pre-conference EU cluster matchmaking event that attracted 149 clusters and generated 369 face-to-face meetings

Following a pitching session, participants also elected Bianca Muntean from the Transilvania IT cluster as the new European Cluster manager of the year 2019. The awards for the European cluster partnerships of the year went to impact connected car (INNOSUP-1) represented by David Seoane from Fundingbox, adpack² (ESCP-4i) represented by Lubos Komarek from Nanoprogress and the European automotive cluster network (ESCP-S3) represented by Clotilde Nade from Vehicle du Futur.

European cluster conference 2019 award winners

Ulla Engelmann, Head of Unit at the Directorate-General for Industry closed the event. She stressed that cluster policy is about synergies and not an isolated policy and that the conference title was fitting for the event. A brief conference videobrought the event to a close.

The last day featured a series of side events including:

  • events organised by clustero (Romanian cluster association), resulting in the Bucharest declaration
  • 3 partnering meetings of European cluster partnerships, organised in collaboration with EASME)
  • a meeting of the Enterprise Europe Network thematic group on clusters
  • a meeting of the working group on social economy and clusters of the GECES expert group

The next European cluster conference will take place in November 2020 in Berlin under the German Presidency of the Council of the EU, which will be another chance for connecting ecosystems.

Scaling up innovative circular solutions for plastics

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The Executive Agency for SMEs (EASME) is organising a side session during the World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) in Helsinki, Finland, on 3 June 2019: ‘Scaling up innovative circular solutions for plastics’.

The participants will address the key aspects for scaling up innovative circular solutions for plastics and the main future opportunities and orientations for the circular economy in the plastics sector. They will also have the opportunity to learn how projects funded by Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, address these and other challenges to boost circular economy solutions for plastics. 

The Side session “Scaling up innovative circular solutions for plastics” aims at bringing together innovators, researchers, companies, public authorities and policy makers to promote circular economy in the plastic sector. 

An interactive workshop with projects pitches, live pools, discussion tables, along with other activities will be organised to facilitate exchanges of views between participants.

Registration

To participate in the Side session “Scaling up innovative circular solutions for plastics” on 3 June contact Marco Ranieri and Stefania Rocca from EASME. The number of places is limited and they will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

Read the original article on the EASME website.

SME Performance Review 2017

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Download the SME Assembly 2017 – SME Performance review (ppt)

Download the Annual report on European SMEs (pdf)

European Youth Media Days will celebrate the 10th anniversary

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Invest Week 2017

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What skills do youth need for the future? – Youth empowerment specialist, Daisy da Veiga

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With the recent launch of the European SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2017, Promoting Enterprise interviewed youth empowerment specialist and guest contributor Daisy da Veiga to ask about her opinion on what skills she believes youth need to develop for the future. She also shared with us her latest work with Youth not in employment, education or training (NEET), including a vlog from her latest trip to an exchange program in Lisbon  about NEET youth work across Europe.

What skills do you believe that youth need for the future?

There are a variety of skills that youth must develop, however I think that soft skills come first and foremost. Firstly, you need to be able to love yourself and have self-confidence, from there you can build on other useful skills. Through self-confidence you will develop another critical skill for success, persistence, it is important to not give up, even when it gets difficult. Working on yourself is important, but it is also necessary to develop your social skills. The ability to connect with people will not only allow for the forging of relationships, but also the opportunity to learn and exchange with others, which is how we grow.

Soft skills should also be complemented with ‘hard skills’ such as creativity and audacity. I believe that youth are very creative, but they don’t always know how to express that creativity. This links to another important skill which may sometimes be overlooked: the ability to ask for help. Learn from and exchange with others, and don’t be afraid to be audacious. Dare to do, speak and change, dare to leave your comfort zone! Whilst it is important to ask for help, I also want youth to remember their ability to listen to their inner voice and go with their gut feeling. We can be easily affected and distracted by all the things that go on around us and the people in our network, but sometimes you need to distance yourself from that and think and act with a clear mind.

Based on your experiences with youth, both within and outside of education systems, do you think that the current education systems need to change? Should their focus be realigned to help develop the skills you have mentioned?

I recently attended a conference on how to re-organise education in Rotterdam where the participants were talking about the intention of education and the systems we have built to deliver it. Personally, I believe that education should prioritise ‘soft skills’ more than it does at present, and then complement that with the current ‘hard skills’ it teaches i.e. maths, science, foreign languages etc.

The intention of education is to help youth find their way in society, and develop them firstly as individuals and secondly as professionals. However, it seems that we have forgotten the intention and are now stuck in a system. The system which was created to help realise the intention, has now become the intention, in short we have forgotten what the system was for.

On the subject of youth, what other work have you been involved in recently with European youth?

One of the European ventures I am currently involved in, is the international exchange of the project Boulevard of Dreams, by the foundation Manage Your Talent. The foundation is based in Rotterdam and I am one of the youth empowerment trainers. This European project has participants from across five countries including, The NetherlandsUnited KingdomSwedenRomania and Portugal. The aim of the project is to exchange ideas, methods and information about working with and for NEET youth, and to offer them the best tailored training possible.

Boulevard of Dreams has three phases in its youth empowerment initiative. The first is to empower the participating youth and give them the ability to find out who they are, identify their talents, discover their dreams and ultimately give them some direction. Once the participants have a clear idea of what they want, they can choose to progress to the second phase where they are paired with a peer educator or ‘buddy’ who is a professional in the field they aspire to join and between the ages of 25-35. Depending on the buddy and the dream in question, this stage involves different activities, but the minimum is that the buddy offers information and guidance from their experience. In the final stage, the participants are offered the opportunity to present their ideas in front of a jury and win financial support for their idea or for education if that is what they wish to pursue.

As part of this project I recently attended a conference in Lisbon on how to work with NEET youth, which included the sharing of experiences from fellow trainers across Europe. As I enjoy vlogging I have included my journey in Lisbon for you right here so that you can experience my journey with me. I hope you enjoy it!

European Satellite Navigation Competition kicks off in Brussels

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The European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) was launched, along with the Copernicus Masters, the leading innovation platform for commercial Earth observation applications, at a joint international kick-off event hosted by the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the EU in Brussels, on 5 April 2017.

From now until June 30, ESNC will be searching for the most forward‐thinking applications based on satellite navigation. The winners, which will be announced at a ceremony as part of European Space Week in Tallinn, Estonia, in November, will share in this year’s prize pool of more than EUR 1 million and will benefit from the ESNC’s unparalleled support network, including the ESA Business Incubation Centres and the brand new E-GNSS Accelerator, co-funded by the European Commission.

Speaking at the kick-off ceremony, Andreas Veispak, Head of the European Commission’s Space Data for Societal Challenges and Growth Unit, noted that the EU had invested a lot of money in satellites, and now stakeholders, including Member States, were looking for a return on this investment. “This can only be yielded through satellite applications that are of use to end users in the public and private sectors,” he said.

Return on investment

This is where the ESNC plays a key role. Since 2004, the Competition has been fast-tracking the most ground-breaking ideas for Galileo-related applications across Europe and beyond and transforming them into market-ready products and new ventures. Each year, the Competition helps promote over 400 business ideas and has already awarded prizes to more than 300 winners over the years, which represent just a fraction of the more than 3,700 innovative concepts submitted by over 11,000 participants.

                Also read: KYNEO project moves closer to commercialisation

This year is no different. With an impressive prize pool of over EUR 1 million, the Competition will give entrepreneurs and start-ups with services, products or business ideas that use satellite navigation in everyday life access to more than 160 space-related stakeholders and allow them to benefit from support from over 40 incubators and the expertise of more than 250 experts.

Copyright: ©GSA

GSA special prize

Within the ESNC, there is the GSA Special Prize for the most promising application idea for European GNSS. The European GNSS Agency (GSA) works with the European Commission on a range of activities aimed at helping European entrepreneurs and businesses – especially high-tech small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), business incubators, and related networks – take commercial advantage of European GNSS (EGNSS). This year the focus of the GSA prize is on connecting Europe.

                Watch this: Europe for space, space for Europe

Now that EGNOS is performing very well, Reinhard Blasi, Market Development Officer at the European GNSS Agency (GSA), noted at the ceremony, the focus is shifting from not only embracing EGNOS on a European level, but Galileo on a global level. “Since December 2016 we have been progressing from deployment to user service provision, which means that users can benefit from Galileo right now,” he said. “In light of the 60th anniversary of the EU, and a milestone year when Galileo starts to provide services with the Declaration of Initial Services, we have been thinking about how we can use satellite navigation to showcase how European GNSS helps connect European citizens.”

E-GNSS Accelerator

The ESNC is now additionally equipped with the brand new E-GNSS Accelerator. This programme is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs and start-ups to accelerate their business case on a broad scale and bring their products and services to market. The E-GNSS Accelerator will run for three years and will directly support the winners of the ESNC 2017, 2018 and 2019. As a result, the participants will receive even more prizes, services and three further business incubations worth an additional EUR 500,000.

For more information on the ESNC, including all relevant information on prizes, partners, and terms of participation, visit the Competition’s official website: www.esnc.eu. Information on the Copernicus Masters can  be found here: www.copernicus-masters.com.

Source: www.gsa.europa.eu

Media note: This feature can be republished without charge provided the European GNSS Agency (GSA) is acknowledged as the source at the top or the bottom of the story. You must request permission before you use any of the photographs on the site. If you republish, we would be grateful if you could link the article back to the GSA website (http://www.gsa.europa.eu).

EIT Health’s Product/Market Fit open to e-health companies looking to expand

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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 – The online safety tools of the future

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Digital innovation has led to several technological advances, born in the minds of innovative entrepreneurs who go on to bring their ideas to life. With an increasing number of us online, both socially and professionally, cybersecurity is an issue that affects us all, consumers and entrepreneurs alike. How can you protect yourself? What information do you need to safely reap the benefits of our digitally innovative world? Today, Promoting Enterprise looks into the development of fraud detection systems, accessible cybersecurity and remote incident response platforms.

The tendency for people to be creatures of habit is being put to good use in the cybersecurity industry, thanks to new identification software that uses typical login times and locations, keystroke dynamics and in-app behaviour to verify if someone is who they say they are. It’s one of a series of innovations being developed by European businesses keen to claim their share of a growing cybersecurity market. Analysts predict that global spending in cybersecurity will be well over EUR 100 billion a year by 2021, yet according to a 2016 report despite being the most trusted area globally when it comes to data security and privacy, the European industry is only growing 6% annually, compared to growth of 8 % for the market as a whole.

One of the aims of the European Cyber Security Organisation (ECSO) – the association implementing a cybersecurity public-private partnership set up by the EU in 2016 – is to create connections between industry players, national public authorities and users of cybersecurity solutions to identify priorities and increase collaboration in research and innovation. That connection – particularly between providers and end-users – is crucial if Europe is to grow the industry and take its place in the market. European businesses such as Czech-based cybersecurity firm ThreatMark (advanced fraud-detection systems developer) and German cybersecurity company Applied Security (apsec), could benefit from this connection which could manifest as business-to-business platforms and direct interactions between SMEs and potential clients.

With the development of the cybersecurity industry, there are still three areas to be addressed:

  1. Cybersecurity tools need to be considered as integral parts of computer systems. EU funded projects like CyberWiz, where users set up a model IT network and carry out various kinds of simulated attacks, allow for system development whilst exposing weak points and giving an overview of the network security.
  2. Skilled technical experts are important for the overall success of the industry, but especially in the small- and medium-sized sector. According to chief executive of Secon Cyber Security UK Robert Gupta, ‘In general, there is a lack of the right skills and when you are recruiting, technical experts in cybersecurity are very hard to come by’.
  3. The costs of implementing cybersecurity. Between the costly search for experts, their employment and the implementation and upkeep of a security system, many smaller businesses simply cannot afford this integral part of their online presence. However, EU funded project ConnectProtect could be the answer; a remote incident-response platform helping small- and medium-sized businesses to combat attacks and security threats – at a more reasonable cost. Through such a system and economies of scale for cybersecurity software licences, the total cost of security could come down dramatically for small businesses – perhaps by as much as 75 % per member of staff.

For more information: https://horizon-magazine.eu

Digital innovation is a key theme for this year’s SME Assembly 2017 taking place in Estonia, so stay tuned for more digital innovation content right here on Promoting Enterprise.

If you liked this have a read of: 2017 and beyond: How digital innovation will impact the world

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