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SME Week Newsletter 2020: Issue #3

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Welcome to the April edition of the SME Week Newsletter.

This month has certainly been different, and for some in our Promoting Enterprise community it has been particularly challenging. April has seen many policy changes and updates, Commission initiatives, hackathons and further actions. We have seen SMEs pitching in and doing their part, pushes and drives to make funding available to those in need, and a strong commitment to keeping the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit alive.

On behalf of the Promoting Enterprise team we hope that you continue to stay well, healthy and safe, and we are committed to bringing you the latest updates and inspiring stories.

Thank you for continuing to subscribe and do not forget to submit your news, articles and updates to be featured in an upcoming issue.

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Supporting digital skills development in European SMEs

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The original article can be found on the EASME website.

Digitalisation is amongst the various challenges that European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) must face in today’s climate. SMEs need to keep pace with current digital transformation and digitalisation in order to provide digital solutions and thus, keep up and keep their place in their respective markets.

One aspect of digitalisation for all companies big and small, is the skills that are needed to implement the new digital solutions, and how to acquire them. In order to respond to this need, the COSME “Skills for SMEs” project, which aims to research and support how SMEs can obtain the key skills needed in the fields of big data, internet of things (IoT) and cybersecurity, is helping SMEs to acquire those skills and not fall behind.

Digital transformation is important for SMEs as it can present unique opportunities. However in order to fully exploit those opportunities, SMEs must invest in training themselves and developing their digital skills in order to overcome existing skills gaps and mismatches.

The “Skills for SMEs” project worked with key experts and other stakeholders to collect information and identify ways to facilitate digital skills development for SMEs. One of the conclusions was that “ambitious skills policies and well-targeted supporting measures at EU and national level are of utmost importance to facilitate the access of SMEs to a larger European talent pool”.

To find out more about this project consult the brochure and for more detailed information have a look at the final report.

EntreComp – The European Entrepreneurship Competence Framework

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The original article can be found on the EASME website.

The European Union and its citizens are constantly facing new challenges, digitalisation, the environment and equality to name a few. New challenges require new ways of thinking and different perspectives, things that the European Union wants to encourage amongst its citizens. But how can these different perspectives and new ways of thinking be encouraged?

The European Commission has developed “EntreComp”, the European Entrepreneurship Competence Framework. It aims to shape an entrepreneurial mindset by identifying its components and creating conversations across different sectors.

The EntreComp Framework includes 15 skills that encompass what is needed to be entrepreneurial. These skills are also further described and mapped, from the most simple to most advanced applications.

New actions funded under the framework

EntreComp Food aims to build a European Collaborative Communities of practice (CoCos) to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship among students and young entrepreneurs in the agrifood sector. 

EntreComp Europe will focus on increasing the quality and uptake of entrepreneurship as a key competence across Europe, in particular on youth work and formal education. 

The projects have received €1 million in funding and will implement their activities over the next three years. Belgium, Slovenia, France, Spain, Italy, Moldova and Turkey are taking part.

Do you want to know more about COSME actions? Then check out the COSME data hub and get insightful information, figures, participant countries, budget and much more! 

The 2020 call for energy efficiency is now open!

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The original article cane be found on the EASME website.

Around €64 million of EU funding is now available for energy efficiency innovation and market uptake projects.

The funding is available for proposals submitted under 10 topics addressing 5 main areas:

  • Buildings
  • Innovative finance
  • Public authorities
  • Consumers
  • Services

The call is managed by the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises of the European Commission (EASME). All proposals for Horizon 2020 funding must be submitted through the EU’s Funding and Tender Opportunities portal.

Need help with preparing your proposal?

Each specific funding topic has supporting videos that provide additional information on EU policy context and specific EASME guidance on submitting a proposal. You can also have a look at the guide to writing an excellent proposal with top tips from EASME.

The deadline for applications is 10 September 2020, 17:00 Brussels time.

For more information, read the original EASME article and check out the infographic.

Organise an Energy Day at the EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW)

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The EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW), the biggest event dedicated to renewables and efficient energy, is inviting you to organise local sustainable energy events  Energy Days!

If you are organising an event in May or June 2020, EUSEW awaits your visionary ideas on clean and efficient energy in a format of your choice. Anything goes from a guided tour to a workshop, picnic, an exhibition or online game.

Read the guidelines and fill in the registration form to make sure that your event receives EU-wide attention on the Energy Days interactive map.

apply for the EUSEW Award(call open until 27 January 2020) or sign up for an activity at the Networking Village.

Join EUSEW2020 on social media by using @euenergyweek and #EUSEW2020 or sign up to become a member of the EUSEW Community.

Read the original article on the EASME website.

Skills for the industry of the future!

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Can you imagine what the jobs will look like in the industry of the future? Innovation, digitalisation and technology are driving the industry towards more competitiveness and change. Workforce needs new skills, competencies and creativity. The project ‘Skills for Smart Industrial and Digital Transformation’, launched two years ago by the European Commission, has helped cities, regions and Member States shape policies tackling this new challenge.

The overall objective of the project was to develop a shared vision and supporting actions on skills for smart industrial specialisation and digital transformation. The challenge was to help policymakers, industry, and social partners in shaping the workforce’s transformation.

Throughout two years, the initiative has helped regions, cities and Member States in designing ambitious skills policies for smart industrial specialisation and digital transformation strategies.

Recommendations

After an extensive analysis of the current strategies, policies and initiatives on high-tech “T-shaped” skills in the EU and following a consultation process of more than 100 stakeholders, a comprehensive and ambitious “Skills for Industry Strategy 2030” has been put forward. 

The policy recommendations encourage the development of forward-looking, dynamic and interactive upskilling initiatives and call for significant investments mobilising and combining resources at local, national and EU level. They also underline the need for a data and technology-driven industry strategy and highlight the need for motivated and engaged leadership.

Best practices

Among the twenty best practices selected to inspire other interested players, many break with traditional ‘silo’ organisation structures. All of them encourage active collaboration and show that Europe needs new innovative and agile skills initiatives.

Airbus Engineer of the Future & AGUPP, Bosch Centre for Artificial Intelligence, Brainport Development, Cisco Networking Academy, or Skillnet Ireland are among the selected examples.

To find detailed and extensive information on the project and its results, check the full report and brochure.

Read the original article on the EASME website.

COSME: Improving skills and employment opportunities in the EU

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On 15 July 2019 it was World Youth Skills Day! Let’s mark the day by taking a look at how the EU’s Programme for the Competitiveness of SMEs (COSME) is helping young people improve their skills and become more competitive on the job market. 

Skills in space

Reach the stars with Copernicus and explore opportunities in the space sector! In 2019 and 2020, the EU’s Earth Observation Programme is organising the ‘Eyes on Earth’ Roadshow across five countries. The events are open to all people interested in a career in the space sector, or who simply want to learn about how space data affects their everyday lives!

Skills in entrepreneurship

Are you working in woman entrepreneurship? Join peer-learning activities in women entrepreneurship. Through a series of workshops, this initiative identifies regional and national strategies that support female businesses. In particular, they explore entrepreneurship education and opportunities for lifelong entrepreneurial education. 

Skills in tourism entrepreneurship

Dive into a VOYAGE experience and discover entrepreneurial travel. This unique travelling experience is also opportunity for young entrepreneurs to develop their business ideas in a relaxed and stimulating environment. For high school and university students, there is the EUMillennialsTOUR. This initiative offers an immersive learning experience through targeted school trips and a mobile application.

Skills in tourism

Are you looking for a career in tourism off the beaten track? Discover the stories of the real people in these careers in theJobs in Tourismtestimonials. You will open your horizons to the sea of employment opportunities offered by this bustling sector!

Skills in digital & high-tech

How does the EU support the development of skills in the high-tech and digital industries? The report Skills for smart industrial specialisation and digital transformation offers an overview of the policies offered at national level across the EU. The final Skills for Industry project conference, held in June, highlighted two major needs in the European skills sector:

  • education programmes that support and foster lifelong skills development
  • more learning opportunities at national and regional level 
Skills in fashion

For the young creatives, the Skills in Textiles, Clothing, Leather and Footwear  (TCLF) project explores opportunities within these four sectors. Stay tuned as this COSME initiative is about to publish a report on the current state of play of careers in this sector and put the spotlight on some little known career opportunities.

For more information
  • Discover the COSME Data Hub (tip: apply the filter for the industry of interest)
  • Follow the hashtag #COSME_EU on social media and stay up to date with the latest learning opportunities!

Read the full article on the EASME website.

INNOSUP-1: providing innovation support for SMEs

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‘INNOSUP-1’ is the Horizon 2020 funding programme of cluster-facilitated projects for new industrial value chains. The programme supports SMEs to develop new value chains that cross business sectors. It boosts innovation by combining expertise from different domains.

13 INNOSUP-1 projects have been supporting SMEs to date and five more were launched in May 2019.

What does innovation support do for SMEs?

SMEs have great potential to create new products and services. However, they often face challenges that could be solved thanks to cross-sector cooperation.

INNOSUP-1 gives SMEs the support they need to join the dots and create disruptive innovations. It connects SMEs with other SMEs or larger organisations across many sectors to create new value chains. By doing so, the programme enables SMEs to transfer technologies, strategies and approaches.

There are many positive impacts. SMEs from all sectors develop their business via these innovative value chains. European citizens benefit from improved products, reduced environmental impact, growth and new job opportunities.

53 clusters delivering the projects

The INNOSUP-1 projects are delivered by consortia of experts coming from SMEs, consultancies and research organisations.

Many of these project partners are cluster organisations. Clusters are groups of enterprises that collaborate closely with each other. The 13 projects that have been active so far were delivered by 139 partners. Two out of 5 of these partners were cluster organisations and between them they counted 6,500 SMEs among their members.

More than 3,200 SMEs reached

The INNOSUP-1 projects have established contact with at least 3,200 SMEs to date. This number will increase as the new projects launch their calls for support. The new projects aim to reach almost 1,500 SMEs in total and to give innovation support to over 600 of them.

Over 1,600 SMEs supported

To date, INNOSUP-1 projects have provided innovation support services for over 1,600 SMEs. These SMEs are located across Europe and beyond. They were present in 27 of the EU Member States and nine of the 16 Horizon 2020 associated countries.

€26 million spent on innovation support for SMEs so far, which will rise to a total of €63 million  

All INNOSUP-1 projects are required to spend at least 75% of their budgets on innovation support services for SMEs. Innovation support services can take the form of funding, vouchers for specialised services, workshops, mentoring, and online platforms.

SMEs have to date received over €26 million in innovation support services from INNOSUP-1. As the new and ongoing projects continue, this figure will rise to over €63 million.

For more details on the projects and the support they receive read the programme impact report and read the full article on the EASME website.

EIC funding for another 374 innovative companies

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83 top-class innovators selected for funding to reach the market faster under the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot’s EIC Accelerator, previously known as SME Instrument Phase 2 and 291 companies will get funding under the Phase 1 of the programme. Companies under both phases will receive free coaching and business acceleration services to make the most of their funding.

Find out more about all the companies in the EASME datahub.

The European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot will support 83 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from 17 countries under the EIC Accelerator, previously known as SME Instrument Phase 2.

The total amount to be distributed between the SMEs working on 78 projects is € 148.7 million from the EU’s research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020. Each project will receive up to €2.5 million to finance innovation activities like demonstration, testing, piloting and scaling up.  

The companies will also benefit from 12 days of free business coaching and acceleration services.

The projects selected include a new generation safe and environmentally-friendly light aircraft, an anti-bacterial textile for hospitals, a 3D audio software, motion planning technology for autonomous driving and a superbot for audio calls.

291 innovators selected for funding under EIC’s SME Instrument Phase1

The European Commission received 1765 proposals in total. Further to an evaluation on paper, 174 candidates pitched their innovations to a Jury of professional investors, entrepreneurs and business experts that evaluated the solidity of their project and selected the 78 innovations for funding.

Spanish SMEs were the most successful with 12 companies selected for funding. They were followed by 9 companies from Switzerland and 7 businesses from Ireland. Most selected companies are active in the field of health, ICT and engineering. 

A total of 291 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) form 24 countries have been selected for funding under the latest round of the SME Instrument, in the so-called Phase 1 of the programme.

The companies will receive a total amount of €13.7 million to share between their projects to get their innovations faster on the market.

In this phase of the SME Instrument each project, 288 in total, will receive €50.000 to draft a business plan. Several companies can team up to propose one project. The companies will also get free coaching and business acceleration services.

Most companies selected for funding are in the field of information and communication technology (ICT), health and engineering. Most companies are based in Spain  with 42 companies selected for funding. THey were followed by 33 companies from Italy and 22 from Switzerland.

The European Commission received 2784 proposals for the 7 May cut-off. 

Read the original article on the EASME website.

EIC: 261 proposals seek funding under Fast Track to Innovation

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The European Commission received 261 proposals for Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) before the latest cut-off date on 25 May 2019.

FTI promotes close-to-the market innovation activities open to all types of participants. The programme offers € 3 million to consortia composed of 3 to 5 partners including mainly industrial participants.

FTI is fully bottom-up. As there are no set topics, proposals are classified according to the keywords introduced by applicants. The top keywords introduced were engineering, health and ICT.

The proposals include participants from 28 countries, the largest number of proposals being submitted by Spanish, Italian and Dutch applicants.

Fast Track to innovation (FTI) is part of the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot and helps close-to-the-market innovations jointly developed by small companies and their industrial partners get on the market faster.

Results will be available in autumn 2019.

Read the original article on the EASME website.

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