Supporting SMEs in the acquisition and development of advanced innovation services.
S3-innodriver - Vouchers to support the implementation of innovation actions of SMEs.
Regione Lombardia is using the vouchers’ system since 2010 to finance innovative business projects. (Pilot actions started in 2003). In particular, the instrument aims to enhance cooperation between SMEs and knowledge providers supporting innovation in SMEs and technology transfer. After the definition of Lombardy Smart Specializations Strategy – RIS3 Regione Lombardia is now shaping a new vouchers’ system aligned to more precise goals consistent with RIS3 and with the R&I Work Programs of the specialisation. The tyes of voucher supported are:
• Digital: Stimulate process and product innovation through digital technologies
• Start -up: Support high innovative start up through incubators
• Collaboration research-industry: process and product innovation
• Participation to H2020: support to proposal presentation
• European and International patent legal support and taxes
• Sinergy with H2020 Seal of Excellence – SME instrument
In June 2017, Lombardy Region lunched the latest call for “Innodriver-S3”, a new edition of the vouchers aimed at supporting SMEs in the acquisition and development of advanced innovation services.
The resources needed to set up and implement the instrument may vary according to Regions.
Considering Lombardy example, the financial resources allocated to the last call are € 11,000,000.00, divided among the different measures.
Evidence of success
It is demonstrated that the voucher instrument is really appreciated among SMEs since it is considered a lean instrument which guarantees valuable contributions, but with an acceptable procedural complexity and evaluation compared to other instruments. About 80% of companies said that without the voucher their project would have been downsized or even undertaken and more than 50% of companies applying for voucher succeed in reaching the objectives foreseen developing new processes and competence
The instrument needs to be supported by an efficient on-line system where it is possible to map SMEs as well as service providers with related service portfolio. To make this system more effective it is necessary to raise awareness on the strategic function of the tool.
Potential for learning or transfer
Thanks to the S34Growth project it was possible to start the transfer of this good practice to other regions who have not implemented a voucher system yet. In particular, the instrument was presented in detail referring to the set-up process and the continuous update of the measure.
It was also interesting to learn from and exchange with other Regions who already implement a voucher system, since this is an instrument that can be exploited to promote the interregional cooperation among stakeholders not limiting the measure to the local context. This would of course contribute to the improvement of SMEs competitiveness allowing their access to the most innovative infrastructures and ensuing their connection with the competences and knowledge available at European level.
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