We live in an era in which innovation is driving the labor market. Businesses worldwide are struggling to find that one innovative idea that will make them stand out. At the same time, they are focusing on upgrading their equipment and making sure that they will be ready to take the big step and make a substantial change that will bring them to the next level. Innovation agencies are here to help them do, just that.
However, not all businesses are able to adopt innovation and in most cases, SMEs need help and support to be able to do that.
Around the world, Innovation Agencies are being established focusing on one thing and one thing only. To inform SMEs about innovation in various sectors of the labor market and to help them reach the innovation that will help their own business become a competitive stakeholder.
However, the gap still remains. And it is an issue that makes researchers wonder. Why is it that although actions are being taken to fill the gap, there is still a problem? It seems like the main issue is the lack of knowledge.
Businesses are not familiar with the existence of Innovation support agencies. At the same time, innovation agencies do not have the ability to inform businesses about the right way they can adopt innovative practices for their businesses.
Spreading the knowledge and making sure that innovation agencies will find the businesses and that they will be able to teach them how to use innovation to their advantage, is now a priority. The European Union pays extra attention to this practice. Through European Calls, the EU aims at filling the gap between innovation agencies and businesses by providing the first with the right tools to impart knowledge to the later.
One such call is the "Peer Learning of Innovation Agencies"
The proposed activities will provide incentives in the form of small lump sum grants to national and regional innovation agencies for engaging in peer learning on all topics relevant for design and delivery of innovation support programmes for SMEs. This should be challenge-driven, based on an agency's intention to revise its programme formats or introduce a new scheme and lead to the development of common understanding of given support service.
The support to joint learning activities shall be available at any time when need and opportunity for policy learning in agencies arises. Peer learning is open for all topics for better innovation support to SMEs. In the context of this action however, only the 'Twinning+' methodology, as well as the quality management scheme for innovation agencies based on EFQM, are recognized as learning methods. Funding for grants awarded under this topic will take the form of a fixed lump sum of EUR 15.000 / 50.000.
Applicants should be aware that this is not purely an action to promote the exchange of good practices. The aim is to investigate and develop by means of peer learning new topics and approaches in innovation support to SMEs with an intention to put newly developed skills into practice.
- The number of innovation agencies engaged in peer learning activities significantly increases.
- The results of the peer learning are taken up by national and regional innovation support programmes, including those co-financed by European Structural and Investment Funds/.
- A broad range of new topics and approaches in innovation support to SMEs is investigated and developed by peer learning activities of national and regional innovation agencies. Pilot agencies design and implement programmes based on these new approaches
- The wider use of quality management in innovation agencies enhances the efficiency of service delivery and customer satisfaction and accelerates the learning process.
For more information you can visit the official website of the European Union.