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For a better innovation support to SMEs

27 October 2017


Call summary and aims

(The first part outlines the topics for 2018 and 2019 and the second part those for 2020)

Small, innovative, companies create the majority of new jobs in the European economy. Technological advances are making it easier and cheaper to start enterprises with limited own resources - but SMEs often struggle to scale up and create new jobs, including recruiting talent.

There is a wide range of public sector support through grants, subsidised loans, equity, and innovation support services. Yet SMEs are often dissatisfied with these, while at the same time the public expects a higher return from the support provided.

The following call for proposals is one element of a broader action to address these challenges and develop the ecosystem of innovation support to SMEs in Europe. Generally, the actions are designed to provide opportunities to Member States and regions to enhance their services through collaboration, and peer-learning. The emphasis is on further testing new approaches for better innovation support, such as blockchain technologies, workplace innovation, a network for Open Innovation, training on advanced manufacturing, experimentation in innovation agencies and a tool for investors in financing SMEs. These large pilot actions will consolidate the results and provide recommendations for the preparation of the next framework programme. The Enterprise Europe Network, the National Contact Points (NCPs) and the Member States are expected to continue playing an important role in implementing these pilot actions and transferring the result 'in-real-time' to their regions and managing authorities of their European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds).