Presentation of the Competition process “Your Innovative Idea” Tirana, 06.November 2014

Last 06 november the Foundation “Partnership for Development” (PfD) organized the Meeting for the launching of the Competition “Your Innovative Idea” The Competition was organized by PfD in collaboration with the EPOKA University, in the framework of the NEXT Project 023 “Collaborative Platform to support research and technology transfer” funded by European Commission in the framework of IPA Adriatic Program. This competition is intended to promote the “SMART PEOPLE”, generate innovative ideas that provide solutions, minimize risks and maximize impact through the technology and intelligent methods, contributing to the development of various sectors of the economy by improving the life of citizens. During the event were made: presentation of the NEXT Project; presentation of the competition process;  presentation of the application form to the students. The message  launched in the event was: “Apply your innovation  idea, you have chance to become owner of your idea. Today is the time of innovation and technology, and whoever better than you have the chance to generate new ideas…”  

RIS 3: an opportunity to develop the basis of Next project

S3The New Community Programming 2014-2020 puts Innovation and Research as a pillar of regional development and wedges as ex-ante conditionality the draft of a Smart Specialisation Strategy (RIS 3). As regards as Structural Funds, for the ERDF are set two objectives: “Strengthening research, technological development and innovation” and “Strengthening of access, use and quality of ICT.” For the EAFRD, the goal is to “Promote the transfer of knowledge and innovation in agriculture, forestry and rural areas.” According to the RIS 3 Guide, prepared by the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), the S 3 is a “trajectory of local development”, focused on a limited number of priorities in terms of sectors of production and/or technology areas on which to focus investments. The strategy should be geared towards building an enduring competitive advantage, based on the ability of diversification and technological specialisation, in order to allow the adaptation of local production systems to the rapid and constant change in the conditions of the economy and the market.

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  

CHECK OUT THE UPCOMING CALLS UNTIL JANUARY 2015

For all businesses, research centers and innovation actors, please check here the document produced by the Lead Partner and its technical assistance on the possibility of EU funding for innovation projects! It includes calls of the EU  programmes Horizon 2020; SME Instrument; COSME; European Territorial Cooperation  until January 2015

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

Triple Helix Association – Webinar programme – 2014-2015

The Triple Helix Association is launching its inaugural series of webinars We are delighted to announce our first series of webinar programmes which we are launching this Autumn. The webinar programme will focus on emergent topics in the triple helix interface and is designed to promote practical discussion within THA membership community and beyond. We plan to hold 6 webinars a year starting in November 2014. The first webinars in the series will focus on the topics we identified from our discussions with THA members and include expert talks on:
  1. From the ivory tower to the Entrepreneurial University – 4th NOVEMBER 2014, 6 PM CET
  2. University Rankings, the Triple Helix Model and Webometrics: Opening Pandora’s Box – 20th FEBRUARY 2015
  3. Critical success factors in University-Industry partnership – APRIL 2015
  4. Academic freedom and proprietary knowledge – JUNE 2015
  5. Developing innovation ecosystems in the Triple Helix context – SEPTEMBER 2015
  6. Coming soon
Each webinar talk will be hosted by an academic and a practitioner to give participants a balanced perspective on the topic. We anticipate a great demand for the series and urge you to reserve your place promptly. The webinar schedule and speakers will be announced shortly – watch this space! The annual webinar programme is FREE to the THA organisational members. Individual members can participate FREE in the first 3 webinars. To access the entire program individual members can either subscribe a new regular organizational membership (200€) or upgrade their membership to the organizational level by sending an email to: mlaura.fornaci@triplehelixassociation.org Non-members are welcome to join the webinars by joining our Association For additional information: info@triplehelixassociation.org

Workshop: Innovation and research in international cooperation – The NEXT project and the Adriatic and Ionian Macroregion – Bari 16th September

The Puglia region organized inside the Fiera del Levante, the workshop “Innovation and research in international cooperation – The NEXT project and the Adriatic and Ionian  Macroregion”. The event was attended by stackholders of Apulia and in particular representatives of companies, research centers and public authorities. The speaker presented the services offered by the project NEXT and its important implications in helping companies who want to invest in the Adriatic territories. Great emphasis was given to the usefulness of the results of the project within the strategy Adriatic and Ionian. The participants were very satisfied and expressed much interest in the services and the development of the project NEXT.

Regional Economic Development Agency for Sumadija and Pomoravlje organized “Workshop with local stakeholders and actors of innovation” – Science and technology park, Cacak 23rd September

Last 23 September, the Regional Economic Development Agency for Sumadija and Pomoravlje organized as part of the project NEXT activities, the event “Workshop with local stakeholders and actors of innovation”. The meeting was attended by the stackholder of the project and in particular industrialists, researchers and officials of state organizations. During the event was presented the project NEXT and the services that will be offered. To the participants, who were very interested in the activities and services offered by the project, will be sent a questionnaire on the upcoming NEXT platform, in order to better understand the needs to which the project intends to meet. Participants also agreed that it is necessary at the international level a networking activity and it is essential to link the public sector with the private