Author Archive

Andrea Di Anselmo

Andrea Di Anselmo has more than 25 years experience in innovation support and company creation gained participating to international assignments and influencing strategic addresses as member of the BoD of intermediary organizations, research institutes, Business Angels Networks and SMEs. He is the Vice President of Meta Group, an international company active in the field of entrepreneurship and knowledge valorization. He is in the Board of Directors of ZMV, the management company operating the Ingenium seed funds in Italy, Slovenia and Poland. He is the President of INSME, the International Association of SMEs. He is one of the CEI-AMI list experts for Smart Specialisation.

Horizon 2020, How to best leverage on 2014-2020 structural Fund

Europe as a whole must advance significantly in research and innovation performances in order to make the EU the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy, as foreseen in the Europe 2020 strategy. H2020 is going to be a key programme for allowing countries to better leverage on knowledge and research. MIRRIS (Mobilising Institutional Reforms in Research and Innovation Systems) aims at encouraging a better exploitation of European research and innovation programmes and a larger participation to the European Research Area of the 13 new EU countries by setting up a process of analysis, dialogue and mutual learning among key concerned stakeholders. More on the attached brief  

What to learn from Smart Specialisation Strategies: A case study from Italy

RIS3 Umbria at a Glance RIS3 identifies five main directions for change: i) research results valorisation; ii) innovative start-ups and knowledge intensive entrepreneurship; iii) openness towards international markets; iv) diversification of regional enterprises; v) quality of life and attractiveness of the region. RIS3 also selects green chemistry, agro-food and aerospace as areas for regional specialisation. RIS3 concentrates resources from all the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) for a total of almost €300m. The planned policy interventions will promote clustering of firms to bring product to the markets while opening up to participants from outside the region and access to services (including ones related to creativity and design). Possibility to activate demand side initiatives (Pre-commercial Public Procurement) is also envisaged for the first time in a regional policy mix defined in the RIS3. Relevance for NEXT – Learning opportunities Focus on downstream activities in the research to market value chain The fragmentation of the production structure, a specialisation in low and medium-low technology sectors, the weakness of endogenous R&D at international level has suggested to concentrate interventions in facilitating access to R&D results wherever they are made available and to support knowledge intensive start-up creation (which was not present in the previous programming period) and demonstration activities. Being this focus a novelty and the knowledge intensive sector weak if not absent, there is a potential risk of some inertia, especially from the regional R&D actors to keep focusing on R&D carried out in co-operation with local SMEs rather than taking an opportunity to exploit possibility of market applications in Umbria and outside. Connecting demand for innovative solutions to entrepreneurial talents The need to diversify the regional economic structure moving towards more added value areas and access innovative solutions by endogenous SMEs and public institutions has led to the choice of investing the ESIF resources in company creation leveraging on the talents living in the region or willing to return back to Umbria. The detailed design of interventions connecting innovation demand (coming from citizens, institutions and existing SMES) with new solutions available on the market and entrepreneurial talents is going to be a key task for regional policy makers together with the integration of private service providers into the regional ecosystem. The proper implementation of the demand-side actions (pre-commercial public procurement) will also be crucial for the success of the intervention. Strategic projects to cluster SMEs in areas of specialisation Regione Umbria will finance few selected “strategic projects” bringing together big industries, SMEs and R&D actors with the two-fold objective of reinforcing competitiveness and excellence in the selected specialisation areas and boosting innovation at urban level. The strategic projects are supposed to be identified and defined with the involvement of all relevant stakeholders using the “programmazione negoziata” (negotiated planning) bottom-up approach. This, if, on the side, will ensure a true application of the “entrepreneurial process of discovery”, on the other may induce delays in the implementation of the measure with the risk of not achieving the planned results.

SMEs and access to Finance in Western Balkans

Small and medium size enterprises play a crucial role in private sector development, busting innovations and accelerating the economic growth in developed and developing countries. SMEs in developing countries are particularly valuable since they develop new sectors and revitalize the stagnant ones, such as services, trade, and manufacturing. New businesses’ efficiency is comparatively higher than the big companies’ efficiency and therefore, they contribute more for employment rate` growth and market competition. At the beginning, SMEs faced with lack of sources for financing their growth. Since they do not have any financial history, conventional paths such as bank loans and issuance of securities are not available opportunities. Thus, the alternative financial sources such as venture capital and private equity should fulfill this gap. The Western Balkan and Central Eastern European (CEE) countries are still in a transitional stage. During this transitional period they have made substantial improvements in corporate governance, enterprise restructuring, and financial sector operations. This region attracts the international private equity investments, although not all of them are equally attractive. Currently, there is a major shift of focus from “traditional” VC and PE countries towards emerging regions. Emerging countries attract investors by exceptional growth opportunities that require substantial funding. This shift is also supported by the aftermath of the financial crisis that strongly affected the established VC and PE markets. It is sometimes argued that exceptional growth in emerging markets fuels future VC and PE activity, and that the whole business model needs to be redesigned. With relatively low labour costs and easy access to European markets, the region has attracted significant direct investment in recent years. Most of this investment has come from Europe, with the euro area accounting for about 70% of the total stock of inward direct investment in the region. Italy is a major investor within the region, especially in Albania where it accounts for 80% of the total (consistent with the strong trade links between the two countries) but also in Montenegro. Greece also has significant investments in Albania, Macedonia, and Serbia. As in other emerging European economies, direct investment in the region generally peaked a year or two prior to the Lehman crisis and then fell sharply. Inward investment flows have begun to recover but remain below their pre-crisis peak levels. In the region the focus should be put as well on boosting ideas, creating entrepreneurial behavior, improve transparency and make quality projects. Educational institutions must revise their academic programs and concentrate more on providing entrepreneurial education. Also, the government should stimulate academic and corporate R&D because the innovations are a major driving force for economic growth. Companies’ should improve employee’s knowledge and skills through continuous training and seminars. Only high trained and educated employees can increase companies’ productivity and profitability. Improved skills and knowledge will generate new ideas and projects, which will also attract the venture capital investments. Finally, promotion of VC industry is needed in order to enlighten the institutional investors and companies on alternative investment opportunities, and on alternative sources of finance. For more info refer to the NEXT COUNTRY OUTLOOK – 1/22/2014 By Anita Tregner-Mlinaric, META Group Small and medium size enterprises play a crucial role in private sector development, busting innovations and accelerating the economic growth in developed and developing countries. SMEs in developing countries are particularly valuable since they develop new sectors and revitalize the stagnant ones, such as services, trade, and manufacturing. New businesses’ efficiency is comparatively higher than the big companies’ efficiency and therefore, they contribute more for employment rate` growth and market competition. At the beginning, SMEs faced with lack of sources for financing their growth. Since they do not have any financial history, conventional paths such as bank loans and issuance of securities are not available opportunities. Thus, the alternative financial sources such as venture capital and private equity should fulfill this gap. The Western Balkan and Central Eastern European (CEE) countries are still in a transitional stage. During this transitional period they have made substantial improvements in corporate governance, enterprise restructuring, and financial sector operations. This region attracts the international private equity investments, although not all of them are equally attractive. Currently, there is a major shift of focus from “traditional” VC and PE countries towards emerging regions. Emerging countries attract investors by exceptional growth opportunities that require substantial funding. This shift is also supported by the aftermath of the financial crisis that strongly affected the established VC and PE markets. It is sometimes argued that exceptional growth in emerging markets fuels future VC and PE activity, and that the whole business model needs to be redesigned. With relatively low labour costs and easy access to European markets, the region has attracted significant direct investment in recent years. Most of this investment has come from Europe, with the euro area accounting for about 70% of the total stock of inward direct investment in the region. Italy is a major investor within the region, especially in Albania where it accounts for 80% of the total (consistent with the strong trade links between the two countries) but also in Montenegro. Greece also has significant investments in Albania, Macedonia, and Serbia. As in other emerging European economies, direct investment in the region generally peaked a year or two prior to the Lehman crisis and then fell sharply. Inward investment flows have begun to recover but remain below their pre-crisis peak levels. In the region the focus should be put as well on boosting ideas, creating entrepreneurial behavior, improve transparency and make quality projects. Educational institutions must revise their academic programs and concentrate more on providing entrepreneurial education. Also, the government should stimulate academic and corporate R&D because the innovations are a major driving force for economic growth. Companies’ should improve employee’s knowledge and skills through continuous training and seminars. Only high trained and educated employees can increase companies’ productivity and profitability. Improved skills and knowledge will generate new ideas and projects, which will also attract the venture capital investments. Finally, promotion of VC industry is needed in order to enlighten the institutional investors and companies on alternative investment opportunities, and on alternative sources of finance. For more info refer to the NEXT COUNTRY OUTLOOK – 1/22/2014 By Anita Tregner-Mlinaric, META Group

What to present to an investor

For a business idea or research result to be succesfully exploited, the entrepreneur or the research team must have more than just an innovative technology, strong business concept, and powerful plan. They must be able to effectively present what their investment opportunity is. The “Investor Presentation” is key for obtaining funding and/or launching a company. Entrepreneurs may be looking for equity funding to move their start-up or business to the next level. Researchers may be chasing private funding. What to present to investors helps to collect and shape the information needed for any presentation to an equity investor.

how to present your idea in 2 minutes

An elevator pitch is the essence of your business plan or exploitation concept. Not lasting any more than one or two minutes, or the length of an elevator ride, a pitch should be compelling, well-conceived, and very well-rehearsed. This tool helps to collect and shape the information needed for any presentation to anybody you want to engage with, including an equity investor.

how to explain a research result to a potential user

Writing a exploitation concept statement is a critical task, whether starting a company to pursue the new opportunity or seeking to continue with research activities. You should be able to clearly and briefly describe the nature of the exploitation action in a short document of one to two pages. This exploitation concept is then tested for feasibility prior to the preparation of a the exploitation plan. It is common for the initial concept statement to change during the life of the project with the feasibility testing and the writing of the plan for using your results. This “concept development “ tool helps to collect and shape the information needed for fine tune the description of an exploitable result to be presented to a potential user.