Europe’s entrepreneurs have always been at the cutting edge of innovation and invention. And this is all the more true in the 21st century. Europe’s human capital, deep science culture and solid technological base hold great potential for delivering major progress in fields of societal and economic relevance.
Exploiting this potential has become more challenging than ever however, in particular for many SMEs. The globalisation, the high degree of interconnectivity and new technological advances have forced many SMEs to reinvent not only their products and services, but also their business and organisational models, in view of staying competitive in a fast-paced economy.
In the last years, Horizon 2020 has helped to develop a more performant SME innovation ecosystem through a series of capacity-building, network and other support actions. But there is ample evidence – including from the Horizon 2020 interim evaluation – that it could do more
to help SMEs to innovate and grow. Many SMEs continue to struggle to adopt the right strategy, business process, skills, or other resources.
For these reasons, many of the Horizon 2020 measures designed to strengthen the dynamism and the resilience of the SME innovation ecosystem will be continued in 2018-2020 in the frame of the “Innovation in SMEs” activities. And they will be strengthened through new initiatives on advice regarding intellectual property right protection, and on Key Enabling and distributed ledger technologies. Together with the SMEs, also the innovation agencies who work with them will be supported to innovate and evolve.
The Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) will continue helping SMEs to enhance their innovation management capacity. Helping SMEs to adopt the right innovation strategy, to better manage their innovation processes and to improve the efficiency of the innovation expenditure will lead to increased profitability. It will in that respect also continue to provide valued Key Account Management services to support coaching services extended to the beneficiaries of the SME Instrument.
(N.B. All draft work programmes are made public before the adoption of the work programme 2018-2020 to provide potential participants with the currently expected main lines of this work programme. Only the adopted work programme will have legal value.)