The SME Instrument is impact oriented. It is focused on finding the best SMEs and not only giving them a grant but also business innovation coaching. Beneficiaries can receive up to 15 days of coaching (3 days at phase 1 and 12 days at phase 2).
Coaches will help the beneficiaries to 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.
The coaching approach under the SME Instrument is built 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:
Enterprise Europe Network acts as the intermediary between the SME and 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.
Contact between the SME and Enterprise Europe Network will be organised by the Executive Agency for SMEs (EASME) as soon as the grant agreement is signed.
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. It is built around the CoachCom2020 project. The first meeting of coaches took place in February 2015.