A special RDT association was created to animate the network with the collaboration of the most important public technology transfer intermediaries
The network formation started with competence building activities, which was also to integrate the people to create a good team spirit. Key to network success was the management of a mini-grant scheme PTR (Prestation Technologique Réseau). The grant gives an attractive start of collaboration between the network an SME. The low value grant – up to 10 k euro - funds some external consultancy for SMEs starting innovation activities, e.g. IP protection support, including expenses of filing the first patent, technology feasibility study, market study, search of partners etc.. The grant payment is made directly to the service provider on completion of their work. The application is prepared with the help of network consultants, who visit the company and decision is taken by the network animator – now NFID.
The rule form the very beginning was that the network animator (RDT, then NFID) worked only as a back office in order not to compete with the members. All the visits of network members to companies are entered in a special intranet tool so that everyone knows who does what, which increases the transparency of the member activities towards the SMEs and helps to avoid duplication.
With time numerous tools supporting collaboration have been developed:
• Jinnove.com – regional innovation portal, a “shopping window” of all the members directed to SMEs. The portal provides information on the network offer, funding opportunities, contacts to experts, innovation infrastructure.
No data available
Evidence of success
15.000 companies in the ASTRIDE database
The member organizations have the need to maintain their visibility and justification of activities, therefore the potential competition among the members or between the animator and the members must be dealt in an smart and tactful way.
Potential for learning or transfer
Similar networks can be established in any region, however it requires human resources (at least 1 full time person for the network animation) a long-term relationship building effort and skills to build bridges avoid conflicts often competitive organizations and a joint task of members that make them to collaborate for a common goal.