The goal of the actions bundled under the specific objective "Innovation in SMEs" is to build innovation management capacity for Small and Medium Enterprises. Innovation management capacity is the internal ability of companies to manage innovation processes from the generation of the idea to its profitability on the market.
SME support will be targeted with a dedicated SME instrument, which is a novel approach to support SMEs' innovation activities. It shall attract more SMEs to Horizon 2020, provide support to a wider range of innovation activities and help to increase the economic impact of project results by its company-focused and market-driven approach.
The SME instrument addresses the financing needs of internationally oriented SMEs, in implementing high-risk and high-potential innovation ideas. It aims at supporting projects with a European dimension that lead to radical changes in how business (product, processes, services, marketing etc.) is done. It will launch the company into new markets, promote growth, and create high returns of investment. The SME instrument addresses all types of innovative SMEs so as to be able to promote growth champions in all sectors.
'Innovation in SMEs' also includes actions which provide indirect support to SMEs in the form of tailored services and projects (innovation management capacity building, IPR management, etc…), networking and mobilization actions for innovation service providers and policymakers (i.e. exchange of experience between national innovation agencies); moreover, Horizon 2020 provides direct support to the Enterprise Europe Network, a key player in improving SMEs' access to funding opportunities. 'Innovation in SMEs' funds additional activities intended to support entrepreneurship, internationalisation, and improving access to markets (through the COSME programme).
Furthermore, this challenge supports the second EUREKA/Eurostars Joint Programme Initiative (2014-2020), that provides funding for market-oriented transnational collaborative R&D projects. Eurostars pools together national resources, with the aim of strengthening integration and synchronization of national research programmes contributing to the achievement of a European Research Area.