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The Final Conference of the project ESSPO will be held online on the 29th of June from 13:00 to 15:00 (CET). The objective of the conference is to show the wider audience (authorities and agencies running SME support programs) how the results of ESSPO may be used in the challenging new reality expected in the post-COVID era.

This conference will be a great opportunity to become familiar with innovative and effective policies for supporting SMEs, as well as how the project has impacted the nine regions of the partnership and what good practices the partners have exchanged concerning the identification of issues that SMEs face in their work (access to finance, administration and regulatory burden, and shortages of skilled workers). These good practices include Bind 4.0., a public-private acceleration programme focused on Industry 4.0 early-stage start-ups; Economic Developers University, aimed at developing effective, coordinated, and professional business ecosystems by training and educating innovation intermediaries; ICT Innovation Vouchers, a grant issued to support the uptake of ICT services in SMEs, and SPARK Demo, a meeting platform between B2B, B2G, and B2C actors.

 

Concept 

No one is able to predict what will happen in the economy as the result of the pandemics as well as a social and economic lockdown. But the preparation for the “new normal” should already start. There are already some traits for the future trends, i.e.: diversification of the supply chains, especially re-establish/re-transferring manufacturing activities, acceleration of digitalisation of services and products, a decline of demand for certain services (e.g. tourism). At the moment the policies are focused on the most needed temporary aids such as solvency and jobs maintenance subsidies. The experts of the ESSPO Interreg Europe project have more to say on the next steps, that is: 

  • Recognition of the needs of SMEs: Support instruments need to address the real needs of SMEs. There are experiences with practical solutions for the recognition of SME needs, as groups (segments) and individual companies as well shared good practices on how to generalize the knowledge on individual needs for better targeting the support for the whole groups/populations.  
  • Identification of the target groups and reaching the right segments of SMEs: It is well-known that SMEs are different and the policies must be more precise in addressing the support to a specific segment. Regional economic practitioners decided to target different segments for different policy objectives.  
  • Accessibility for the SMEs provided by a well-functioning network: The SMEs have difficulties in understanding the complex support system. It is the system to make the right support easily accessible. The best practices analysed are based on proximity of advisers, who collaborate within networks in order to bring the competency needed for a single SMEs. From the policy point of view, networked implementation brings a critical mass of results needed to reach the policy goals. 
  • Flexibility and speed of the support service adapted to a single SME needs: SMEs operate in competitive markets that press them to respond quickly and efficiently. The support to be effective needs to aligned with the requirement and be as quick as the company action before the market opportunity window closes.

 

Agenda 

12h30 – Welcome participants, practical information and rules

 

13h00 – Setting the scene – Welcome session

Keynote speech: Post-COVID era challenges SME will face and need support

Christian Saublens. Former director of EURADA

Interreg Europe: Programme input for COVID and post-COVID interventions

Speaker to be confirmed

ESSPO lessons learnt to support SME competitiveness

Elżbieta Książek – Poznan Science and Technology Park (PSTP)

Online poll about SME needs

Moderation. Richard Tuffs

 

13h30 – How to address the needs of SMEs in the post-COVID

Designing the SME support instrument with the stakeholders (living labfor instrument design

PSTP, Wielkopolska.

SME need identification

Dev’UP – needs of SMEs in the COVID area, results of interviews with 1700 companies.

Gabrovo – results of the SME survey.

 

14h00Solutions and lessons of ESSPO regional partners

Selecting target group (segmentation) SMEs

TSP – incubation focused on specific start-ups (deep tech, space & gaming) – different perspectives.

Tecnalia – reviving the blocked sector – SMEs in tourism.

Accessibility of the support – network

ICE Castilla y Leon – CentraTech or REDEI as a tool to provide accessibility of the support all over the territory.

Weserbergland – Innovation & technology transfer scheme in subregions adapted to the SME needs related to COVID situation.

Flexible support service delivery 

ARC Fund – the SME agency running NIF &/or Innovation Norway managing authority Bulgaria on the delivery of the support adapting to the post-COVID situation (electronic platform).

 

14:15 – Feedback session on the participant’s voices

Results of voting and the chat and reaction of panellists.

 

14:25 – Final conclusions – To be confirmed.

 

Register here