CONFERENCE

Streamlining Public Support for SME Innovation
InnoBridge Project Final Event
September 30, 2020, Sofia

About the project

High regional expenditure on R&D does not necessarily lead to innovation and increased regional competitiveness if the regional economy is hampered by insufficient exploitation of its own R&D results and from a lack of access to public R&D results. Increasing SMEs’ competitiveness is at the core of the InnoBridge project by improving the Innovation Bridge and related policy instruments for SMEs: “Bridging the innovation gap through converting R&D results into commercial success in a more effective and efficient way”. This enables SMEs to better realize their innovation potential and to act as a catalyst for creating more high qualified jobs and regional growth.

After 3 years of intensive inter-regional learning and 18 months of Action Plan implementation that applied into practice actions aiming at improving their regional R&D and innovation performance and SME’s competitiveness, InnoBridge project 9 partners from 8 regions in 8 countries spread over Europe are ready to share their hands-on experience.

About the conference

The conference brought together European political figures, practitioners, academia, policy makers, business community, intermediary organizations, civil society, and offered a platform to share best practices, to explore and discuss opportunities for streamlining public support for SME innovation.

The conference Streamlining Public Support for SME Innovation in European Regions aimed to provide answers to questions such as How can we improve regional policies to support innovation and R&D? What measures can assure that R&D results are available to SMEs? How to raise and mobilize the existing skills and how to build skills for the future? How to seize the benefits of digitalization for improving the region’s innovative performance? What has proven to work: regulatory frameworks, access to finance, increasing entrepreneurial capacities, diminishing administrative burden on start-ups, or else? 

THE EVENT IN A NUTSHELL

Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.” The words of Henry Ford captured the essence of the interregional approach of the InnoBridge project final event, organized by Sofia Development Association. The hybrid event brought together about 100 participants – mostly online but also physically in Sofia – key players from academia, research and technology institutes, regional and local authorities, managing authorities, business organizations, SMEs, experts from 29 cities in 14 countries.

“The SME sector and innovative solutions coming from the industry are critical for a speedy recovery of the economy in post-COVID-19. It is also important to ensure that the next Multiannual Financial Framework will provide access to and sufficient resources for innovations, especially in support of SMEs, for further investments and development,” stated the Mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandakova at the event opening.

An outstanding group of dynamic and leading-edge speakers offered their insights and experience in developing regional policy mixes to foster innovations and make R&D results available to SMEs. While this policy area was relevant when the InnoBridge project was launched in 2016, it matters even more now after the COVID-19 crisis affected strongly our economy and society. The panelists identified important trends, such as flexible refocusing of support measures, centers of knowledge as core of innovation ecosystems, links that allow making professional decision without professional cost. Event participants shared examples of innovative actionable solutions.

Here is the hands-on quick dive into the various topics discussed: barriers and challenges to innovations in the European regions; replicable good practices; ways to connect business and universities; how to fill the missing elements in the entrepreneurial ecosystem; how to mobilize the existing skills in the region and nurture the skills for the future; policy recommendations for the way forward.    

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PROGRAMME

OUR SERVICES

All times are displayed in Central European Time (CET)

OUR SERVICES

09:30 - 10:00

Welcome and opening: the role of SME innovation in pre-and post-pandemic situation

  • Yordanka Fandakova, Sofia Mayor: Cities as innovation hubs
  • Etienne Verhelle, Policy Officer, Interreg Europe: Connecting Danube Region SME challenges with local goals in place-based innovation policy
  • Kerstin Koren, Legal Representative Office of the Regional Government of Lower Austria, InnoBridge Project Manager: Making a difference through partnerships

Online live poll

10:00 – 11:00

The impact of innovations and SME competitiveness: regional perspectives and examples of leadership in action

  • Christian Lechner, Professor at University of Bolzano: Entrepreneurial ecosystems: the interplay of institutions and actors
  • Pilar Garcés García, Deputy Minister for Universities and Research in the region of Castilla y Leon” instead of “Associate Professor in the University of Valladolid: University-business knowledge transfer in Castilla y León in COVID times
  • Katalin Barna, Hungarian Ministry of Finance: How Hungary reacted to the crisis and how the ERDF can help cope with that challenge
  • Sylwia Bendarczyk Mikuli, Deputy Director of Małopolska Centre for Entrepreneurship: How to raise and mobilise the existing skills and how to build skills for the future
  • Raimund Mitterbauer, Chamber of Commerce, Lower Austria: R&D&I Portfolio, How to foster innovation in SME’s
  • Daniel Janeiro, Manager of ÉvoraTech: Alentejo Best Practice – ÉvoraTech Fablab

Q&A

This part of the webinar will focus on addressing the following questions: What measures can assure that R&D results are available to SMEs? How to raise and mobilize the existing skills and how to build skills for the future? How to seize the benefits of digitalization for improving the region’s innovative performance? What has proven to work?

11:00 – 11:10

COFFEE BREAK: GET TO KNOW THE PARTNER REGIONS AND THEIR ACHIEVEMENTS – REGIONAL VIDEO CONTENT

11:10 – 11:40

Responsible Leading in Times of Crisis – parallel break-out sessions on lessons learned, good practices, barriers & challenges and policy recommendations.

This part of the virtual conference will engage participants to gain insights and exchange and delve into policy experience and good practices. With guided moderation participants will discuss and define lesson learned and policy recommendations.  

11:40 – 12:00

Way forward: Report back on break-out sessions
Conclusions and wrap up

  • Daniela Tchonkova, ARC Fund
  • Conference was moderated by Sevdalina Voynova, Sofia Development Association
  • This event was free and open to the public
  • You can watch the webinar on the InnoBridge Youtube Channel and on Facebook

Speakers

Conference Speakers

Yordanka Fandakova

Mayor of Sofia


Etienne Verhelle

Policy Officer, Interreg Europe


Kerstin Koren

Legal Representative Office of the Regional Government of Lower Austria, InnoBridge Project Manager

Christian Lechner

Professor Strategy & Entrepreneurship,
Free University of Bolzano


Pilar Garcés García

Deputy Minister for Universities and Research in the region of Castilla y Leon” instead of “Associate Professor in the University of Valladolid

Katalin Barna

Head of the International and Cluster Unit, 
Hungarian Ministry of Finance


Sylwia Bendarczyk - Mikuli

Deputy Director, Małopolska Centre for Entrepreneurship 

Raimund Mitterbauer

Chamber of Commerce, Lower Austria

Daniela Tchonkova

Program Manager, Applied Research and Communications Fund

DANIEL JANEIRO

Manager of ÉvoraTech


moderators

Conference Moderators

Sevdalina Voynova

Director of Programs, Sofia Development Association

Denitsa Marinova

Project Manager, Applied Research and Communications Fund

Thomas Strodl

Chamber of Commerce, Lower Austria

Lavinia Brunelli

Autonomous Province of Bolzano, South Tyrol

Tiina Ramstedt-Sen

Council of Tampere Region

VIDEOS

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GALLERY

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DOCUMENTS

RECENT WORKS

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ALL DOCUMENTS

DOCUMENTS

PRESENTATIONS FROM THE CONFERENCE

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contact

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Office

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PARTNERS

InnoBridge is funded by the INTERREG EUROPE programme,
cofunded by EU’s ERDF.

www.interregeurope.eu/innobridge

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