SESSION 1: SETTING THE SCENE – WELCOME SESSION AND CURRENT CONTEXT OF SME POLICIES
ERWIN SIWERIS

Programme Director, Interreg Europe
Interreg Europe has been able to motivate, finance and implement the lessons learnt and include the implementation of good practices in the Policy Learning Platform database. T
ELŻBIETA KSIĄZEK
ESSPO Project Coordinator, Poznan Science and Technology Park (PSTP)

ESSPO aims to create effective and efficient SME support service portfolios for SMEs by responding to 5 specific questions – how to: recognise SME needs, identify the right policies, make support understandable and accessible, organise a flexible service, and evaluate the effects of the support.
CHRISTIAN SAUBLENS
Former Director, EURADA

Companies need to reimagine their action plans, scanning post-crisis opportunities, learning from the crisis (what was done wrong and what could be improved), and figuring out resilience strategies. RDAs should develop new scenarios, targets, and priorities for imagining the future. Crisis management should be less top-down and more data-driven, using both insights and operations teams.
SESSION 2: HOW TO ADDRESS THE NEEDS OF SMES, POST-COVID
VAIDO MIKHEIM

Project Manager, Tartu Science Park
Scholars, policy makers, and business support organizations should work in synergy to put in place instruments designed to meet the needs of SMEs, he says.
NATHALIE BOULANGER
Head of European policies, DEV-UP Centre-Val de Loire

They have conducted over 1 800 interviews with regional companies to better meet their needs and spot opportunities for them after the crisis to better allocate services and funding.
DESISLAVA KOLEVA
Projects and Economic Development Chief Expert, Gabrovo Municipality

The Municipality of Gabrovo has conducted a business survey addressing local companies. TMainly manufacturing companies took part, these being the backbone of the local sector. The survey showed the interest of many companies in making public-private partnerships. The effects of Covid-19 were also polled, and the results show that most companies have suffered a decline in revenues since the start state of emergency.
SESSION 3: SOLUTIONS AND LESSONS OF ESSPO REGIONAL PARTNERS
ELŻBIETA KSIĄŻEK

Lead partner of ESSPO, Poznan Science and Technology Park
Elżbieta believes that using this living lab approach can shorten the time it takes from recognising SME needs to having a good prototype instrument, as well as improving the chances that said instruments will work.
JUAN GARATE
International Director at ICT Division, Tecnalia Research and Innovation

New programmes will be needed to revamp it, particularly to support SMEs; digital transformation will be an opportunity for this. The Basque Country has implemented several initiatives that have been taken as an example and executed in other countries. One started 4 years ago with the idea of providing SMEs with digital tools to improve their businesses and offer more services. As a result, 90% of the region’s SMEs were certified with a Quality Level of Digitalisation.
BEATRIZ CASADO
Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Department, ICE Castilla y León

As has been the experience of Castilla y León, networking is key for new opportunities for accessibility to services. The Entrepreneurship & Innovation Network covers a wide range of actors and has more than 120 members and seeks to enhance entrepreneurship, talent, and innovation. They have developed an innovative financial project called the “financial shuttle” which establishes a one-stop shop for business financing, helping with access to public and private instrument. Thanks to the [email protected] Program, over 5 000 participants have gained access to training in new technologies, knowledge transfer, and business innovation support.
ESSPO 4 / 4
DIETER MEYER
CEO, MCON Dieter Meyer Consulting GMBH
Dieter Meyer remarked that even in large regions, it is possible to reach SMEs in a very targeted and needs-oriented manner and to quickly design support instruments based on changing framework conditions. In Lower Saxony, the regional government implemented a very effective based-place policy, providing funds for local SMEs while enhancing the process of digitalisation and participation to innovation networks.
VENCESLAVA YANCHOVSKA
Manager, Innovation Norway Sofia
Venceslava Yanchovska talked about Innovation Norway and the EEA and Norway Grants. Innovation Norway aims to stimulate businesses to enhance commerce and socio-economic profitability, in addition to realising the commercial potential of the regions. As a result of the coronavirus crisis they launched a €100 million programme to support Norwegian businesses, particularly in restructuring and innovation, by creating a package for green restructuring, a new loan scheme for green shipping, a subsidy scheme for the tourism industry, and an action plan on export.