ComVantage Leads the SME Debate at FInES Cluster Meeting

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ComVantage led the discussions of the SME support debate in the context of the FInES cluster meeting at the EC in Brussels 19th and 20th December 2011. The debate addressed the identification of areas for SME support towards increased competitiveness.

As part of the FInES cluster meeting in Brussels, ComVantage debated with members of projects NisB, ExtremeFactories, IMAGINE, COIN and ICT Finance MarketPlace (ICT-Venture Gate, YMIR), where the focus of support to SMEs should be put to progress towards increased competitiveness.

Dr Oscar Lazaro reported to the FInES cluster the main outcomes of the debate. The group of experts concluded that business dynamics for SMEs have drastically changed and exploitation cycles of business are reducing, leading to quicker margin reduction due to global competition. The real SME issue becomes how, when and where to incorporate collaboration in the SME business strategy.

Collaboration should be considered as an investment in time and resources so a clear return of investment should be defined as part of the collaboration strategy, e.g. increase in scale. Most important motivations for collaboration are based on interpersonal aspects such as social and personal relationships that transcend the enterprise Investment on IT collaboration tools and innovation come as a result of the desire to establish such collaborations.

Science & Technology Parks 2.0 and Harmonised Living Labs are a key collaboration instrument for bringing R&D into practice, i.e. provide innovation. Moreover, suitable vehicles should be adopted for the proliferation of SME collaboration. Clusters and associations can play that role with a mass impact but they need to be fuelled with reference best practices for successful SME collaboration, something that is still missing.

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