The right coaching can be the key to your growth. Coaches under the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot will help the beneficiaries progress over the life cycle of their innovation, from idea to proof of concept, to first pilot application and finally upscaling and expansion. They will empower the SME to cope with challenges such as developing their strategy and organisation, identifying their market and improving ability to attract finance.
EIC-funded SMEs can receive free coaching: 3 days at SME Instrument Phase 1 and 12 days at SME Instrument Phase 2, FET-Open and Fast Track to Innovation. The approach is based on a philosophy of "sense and solve" - understanding the context of the company and empowering the management for handling similar challenges in the future on their own.
Based on this philosophy 3 distinct coaching services are available:
- Business development: focused on the identification, analysis and evaluation of potential business opportunities, the definition of business segments and the development of an effective marketing mix;
- Organisation: aimed at mobilizing the resources of the SME to ensure the efficiency and performance of the company’s organisation;
- Cooperation: to support SMEs in planning and implementing innovation partnerships and project consortia.
Getting a coach
The Enterprise Europe Network acts as an intermediary in the coaching scheme. The role of Enterprise Europe Network is to help the SME to identify challenges and coaching needs, and to support the SME in selecting a coach. The Project Officers will facilitate contacts between the SMEs and Enterprise Europe Network while the grant agreement is being signed.
In each region there’s a person at Enterprise Europe Network – the Key Account Manager (KAM) – ready to help the beneficiaries identifying the challenges they face, their coaching needs and also selecting the most relevant coaches.
The Key Account Manager ensures that an SME Instrument beneficiary receives the most appropriate services and support to optimise the exploitation of its innovation project. The aim is also to leave the SME with a footprint for future sustainable growth.
The key activities of the KAMs are the following:
- Conducting a needs analysis together with the SME to identify the potential barriers to future growth and to define the priorities for coaching;
- Proposing coaches with profiles matching the SME needs and support the SME in the selection process;
- Ensuring that all relevant additional support from the regional innovation eco-system is introduced to the SME.
- Identifying the next steps to help the SME on their growth trajectory.
Depending on the challenges the SME is facing and on their priorities, the coach will deliver one of the three following services:
- Business development: identification, analysis and evaluation of potential business opportunities, the definition of business segments and the development of an effective marketing mix including the monitoring of its implementation;
- Organisation: mobilize all the resources of the SME to ensure the efficiency and performance of the company;
- Cooperation: support SMEs in planning and implementing innovation partnerships and project consortia
Building a community of coaches
For the coaching scheme to be successful, a learning community of coaches has been established with the view of continuously improving the coaching services provided to SMEs. Coaches are also fully part of the EIC Community Platform.
List of coaches that have worked for the SME Instrument beneficiaries (Last update: October 2016)