Rationalization of the market of the innovation services through coding (Catalog) of the “effectively” qualified services for SMEs and support policies
In 2008 Tuscany Regional Authority developed a Catalogue where all services for SMEs recognised as “advanced and qualified to support the innovation processes and competitiveness” were codified together with the corresponding requirements of the service provider, in order to:
- Rationalise the regional system of technology transfer
- Support the demand for qualified services for SMEs as a key element of a long-term process of organisational change and increased competitiveness
- select, qualify and open up a services market for businesses
In 2016 the Catalogue was revised to make it a flexible tool to be used for all the regional R&I calls. Today the Catalogue:
- represents a source of information for companies wishing to set up a process of innovation,
- by a periodically updating, describes the services for SMEs worthy to receive an ERDF co-financing,
- includes more than 40 services divided in basic services (audit, potential assessment), advanced services (support to technological innovation in products and processes), internationalisation.
Catalogue is a relevant policy GP for supporting NMP in manufacturing, because it:
-facilitates funding for innovation delivery (R2B actions, know-how exchange)
-represents a key tool to sort, catalogue and rationalise the advanced services for SME’s, including services for process and product innovation
- allows the start-up of an innovation process into the SME even with small investments (usually less than 50M€).
Catalogue can be developed at low cost (<50K €) with internal resources + external expertise for analysis and study. Resources are needed for the calls: in 2007-2013, 79.3 M€ was allocated for co-funding several cut-off calls for proposals (3/year). Costs vary with the service (10-75K€, co-fin 50%).
Evidence of success
From 2008 to 2013 a growing number of SMEs used this instrument: 2.667 requests were approved for funding; 45K€ was the average cost of the required service; 50% was the average approved co-financing; 79.3 M€ was the whole amount allocated for co-funding.
In the 2014-2020 period, its use has been extended to measures for the competitiveness of the regional production system and in particular those intended to increase business investment in research and innovation.
No specific barriers were met when designing and implementing the GP.
The catalogue can be adapted and updated according to the different needs and levels of development of each regions.
A periodic update of the Catalogue is needed, so that it remains in line with all regional policies.
Potential for learning or transfer
The Catalogue represents a guide both for SMEs, which can benefit from a complete picture of the potential opportunities and expertise, and for possible services suppliers, who can improve and adapt their own expertise to be compliant with the listed and fundable services.
The Good Practice also involves all potential "suppliers" of the service, which benefit from the funding by providing own qualified consultants. In this way, it promotes and supports a market of qualified services (technical, research, certification, etc.) which also includes:
Public and private research centers and laboratories
Other SMEs in the role of supplier.
The practice is particularly relevant as policy instrument for supporting innovation delivery of NMP (or other KET) to Manufacturing.
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