PROINCOR boosts SME innovation from the Baltic to the Adriatic

The PROINCOR project is supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along the geographic corridor between the Baltic and Adriatic seas, to boost their innovation performance. Project advisers visit SMEs to perform free innovation audits to show them how to develop systems to make the most of innovation, research and technological development.

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A PROINCOR innovation audit takes place. A PROINCOR innovation audit takes place.

" It is easy come up with ideas, but it is extremely difficult to make them useful in the real world. The innovation audit by innovation experts was helpful for our company and our project of wheel motors for advanced electric cars. "

Gorazd Lampič, CEO, Elaphe d.o.o., Slovenia

At the start of the project, innovation advisers received expert training and common guidelines for innovation advisory services in all ten partner regions were drawn up and used by advisers to assess performance. An external evaluator followed auditing processes and analysed case studies with the group of advisers.

Identifying strengths and developing action plans

Innovation audits gave SMEs a clear idea of the state of their innovation practices and processes, including strengths and weaknesses. Advisers then developed action plans with company management to improve performance. Where an audit indicated a need for further assistance, regional innovation support partners were asked to help with research and technology transfer, the launch of new products and/or process development projects.

PROINCOR looked at the innovation performance of some 6 300 SMEs in the manufacturing and industrial service sectors and carried out audits in around 400. A total of 500 managers and 300 employees were involved in auditing procedures, while 100 managers and employees received direct innovation training. Innovation management systems were improved in 160 companies and 80 product and process development projects were launched, with assistance covering such issues as preparation for investment and transnational cooperation.

Innovation support systems

The project’s innovation advisor group connects innovation support systems in all participating regions, thus ensuring the continued flow of information and knowledge between the regions and the sustainability of the project and its results. The results are to be analysed to prepare recommendations for improvement of innovation policies, especially those related to support for SMEs in the Baltic-Adriatic corridor. By involving partners from across central Europe, PROINCOR is helping to reduce economic disparities between eastern and western European regions.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “PROINCOR” is EUR 3 064 047.06, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 2 435 128 from the Operational Programme “Central Europe” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

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