The Consortium includes 15 members from 12 countries

TA CR (Coordinator) - Czech Republic 

The Technology Agency of the Czech Republic (TA CR) is the key research funding organization (RFO) of applied research, development and innovation in the Czech Republic. TA CR is the coordinator of the GO – SME project, it leads WP1,  task dedicated to the sustainability of the project (T2.4) and WP4 covering the ethics requirements of the project. 

TA CR's main goal is to enlarge the scope of funding and activities for SMEs and to learn how to better tailor TA CR's services for them.

TA CR is a national public authority established by the Act on the Support of Research and Development (Act. No. 130/2002 coll.) in 2009. 

The main tasks of TA CR are

Among TA CR partners and stakeholders relevant for the programmes preparation are the ministries and their governmental departments, national public authorities, professional associations and chambers and many more. Among project beneficiaries are research organizations, universities, SMEsuniversities SMEs and other legal entities (NGOs, municipalities, etc.).

Even though TA CR is a relatively new agency with 11 years of experience with R&D funding, the Agency has been trying to play an active role on the international scene. It is part of TAFTIE – European Association of leading national innovation agencies and it has chaired TAFTIE in 2017. TA CR has been involved in more than 12 Horizon 2020 projects. TA CR is also part of  CSA and ERA-NET Cofund projects proposals. 

SPW-EER - Belgium 

The Operational Directorate General for Economy, Employment and Research (SPW-EER), belonging to the Public Service of Wallonia, is the legal administration in charge of funding applied research for new technologies and innovation for industries, academia and research centres, as well as of related international scientific cooperation. It is also therefore the key advisory body for the Regional government authorities involving research and innovation policy. Its human resources are approximately 500 employees.

The Department for Research and Technological Innovation supports the development of scientific competencies of the Region’s universities and research centers and their integration in federal and international research activities. In this framework, The Department is in charge of organizing Wallonia’s participation in the EUREKA initiative, in the Eurostars programme, in ERA-NET projects and in COST programmes. The Department also manages the research projects co-funded by the European Commission under the Structural Funds scheme. The Department proposes accompanying measures, such as ‘Primes Horizon-Europe’; and manages scientific partnership agreements involving Wallonia and third countries, only to name a few of its activities.

SERN - Belgium

Startup Europe Regions Network (SERN) was created under the EC Initiative Digital Agenda with the objective of strengthening the European business environment, via developing a bottom-up “movement” in Europe.

Since 2015, SERN has been committed to supporting startups and the development and implementation of regional policies. It focuses on fostering startup growth and entrepreneurship in Europe. It does so with a specific purpose: to reinforce the links between regional authorities, development agencies, universities and associations who build and scale up startup ecosystems. SERN activities focus on mapping and promoting support activities to start-ups, and mobilizing regional efforts to address relevant barriers to start-ups’ growth. It has an extensive network of actors, including innovation agencies and tech parks.

SERN Goals

EAS - Estonia 

ENTERPRISE ESTONIA (EAS) is a 20 years old national foundation that aims to develop Estonian economy through three principal areas of activity:

EAS is currently addressing two major market failures, which are limited product development of enterprises and concentrated exports to a few specific markets and actively starting new innovation related activities in 2020 with a goal to become a fully functional innovation agency of Estonia in 2021. 

EAS is also the main agency for supporting enterprises and entrepreneurship implementing EU structural funds in Estonia. During the 2007–2013 EU financing period, EUR 784 million of the more than EUR 3.4 billion of structural aid to Estonia has been implemented by Enterprise Estonia. In the 2014–2020 funding period Enterprise Estonia implemenents EUR 588.1 million from the Structural Funds budget of 3.5 billion euro. It is mainly grants, but also different supportive services and actions. 

EAS has 16 foreign offices; is a member of TAFTIE; currently active member in 2 Horizon 2020 CSAs, with history of 5 such projects – 1 H2020, 2 COSME and 2 FP7.

DLR - Germany

Research, innovation and education – the DLR, Project Management Agency has been providing an array of services to assist key decision-makers from government, science, industry and education for over 40 years. Our approx.1000 employees develop practical strategies, manage funding programmes and projects, assist in dialogue processes and support knowledge transfer and utilisation on behalf of our clients. As part of DLR, the Project Management Agency is a key contributor to DLR’s ‘Science, Innovation and Education’ field of operations.

The department “European and International Cooperation” hosts both the EUREKA office and the International Bureau of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. We are thus well prepared to contribute both to the planning and the evaluation of novel methods to conduct close-to-market support projects at an international level.

DLR hosts the International Service Facility for the European Commission. This gives access to a wide range of stakeholders in research and innovation in countries all over the world. Furthermore, DLR is partner and coordinator in several INCO-Nets, widening possibilities for dissemination of the call(s). DLR currently coordinates ENRICH USA. At national level, DLR coordinates the network of German NCPs for H2020 and runs, among others, the NCP for the SME instrument. DLR also supports the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in implementing the German mandate in several international organisations dealing with R&I issues, namely the Strategy Forum for International Cooperation (SFIC) and the OECD.

DLR will be responsible fro task 2.3 on Communication, dissemination and exploitation activities. DLR Project Management Agency has a long track record as coordinator or participant in EU funded STI support projects. One of these task is to conceptualise and organize the measures targeted at dissemination of call information, e.g. in ERA-Nets and JPIs. The DLR staff involves scientific staff, but also professionals in communication, such as graphic design and online activities.

NRDI - Hungary

The National Research, Development and Innovation Office (NRDI Office) is a governmental body responsible for the establishment and coordination of international and EU cooperation activities in the field of RDI policy. NRDI is the main RDI funding agency in Hungary and manages the National Research, Development and Innovation Fund (NRDI Fund) to provide state support for research, development and innovation through publishing open calls.

NRDI Office has a strategic excellence programme in several areas, it supports the technological development activity of enterprises as well as bilateral mobility of researchers and the implementation of bilateral RDI projects. NRDI has well-established relations with scientific institutions, universities, companies conducting RDI, technology transfer offices and other stakeholders active in research or innovation and fosters dynamic cooperation between scientific centres and enterprises and creates an inspiring environment for innovation. It coordinates national government tasks related to the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Framework Programme, thus operates the network of National Contact Points and represents Hungary in the strategic decision making Programme Committees of Horizon 2020. 

NRDI Office participates in EUREKA and in various joint programmes of the Member States and the European Commission (AAL, EUROSTARS), as well as joint technology initiatives (e.g. ECSEL) and cooperation activities (ERA-NETs) ensuring national representation and supporting Hungarian participation through national calls. 

The GO-SME project will benefit from NRDI´s wide experience of designing the national programmes and calls as NRDI will lead on task 2.2 Design of national schemes.

Invitalia - Italy

Invitalia is the National Agency for inward investments and economic development. It directly promotes foreign investments as well as measures aimed at boosting competitiveness across the Italian economy. Its purpose is to provide a one-stop shop for those eager to expand or set up a new business. Invitalia is configured as a SpA or joint-stock company 100% owned by the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

Invitalia plays a major role in the Italian economic scene, focusing on strategic sectors with considerable effects on development and employment. The Agency supports the funding escalator strategy, fostering the overall value of the country’s economy.

Moreover, Invitalia is the Purchasing Body and Contracting Authority for the execution of strategic actions at local level.

As of this year (2020), Invitalia is member of TAFTIE.

Invitalia pursues its mission by managing a portfolio of incentives and financial, overseeing the design and architecture of financial instruments, in cooperation with the Ministries that have financial resources at their disposal linked to specific goals. As an integration to its portfolio of financial instruments, Invitalia provides a wide array of services designed to accompany the potential beneficiaries and/or the operating enterprises through the various stages of investment projects.

Given its role and experience, Invitalia will contribute to the task of the consortium with specific regard to WP2 and WP3.

MITA - Lithuania

The Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA) was established in 2010 by the Ministry of Economy & Innovation and the Ministry of Education, Science & Sport. MITA is entrusted with implementation of national innovation policy.

MITA implements programmes and initiatives designed to promote commercialization of R&D results, international cooperation (NASA internships, Concert Japan, USA, China, Singapore and Israel SMEs accelerators). MITA promotes entrepreneurship, development of start-up companies and scale-up SMEs, clusterization, international networking. MITA is in charge of management of numerous R&D&I programmes, funded through national/EU structural funds (Travel grants, Prizes, Innovation Vouchers, Technological Development Programme, Pre-commercial Procurement, High-Tech, BioTech, FinTech, Space, S3 etc.). MITA is NCPs host organisation in Lithuania for Horizon 2020 as well as other programmes such as EUREKA and Eurostars-2. Over 100 SME newcomers have accessed our new products development, project and business management course, which guides leaders through a process of strategic change.

MITA is a member of the European Network of Innovation Agencies TAFTIE and was the chair of the network in 2018.

MITA is strongly focused on delivering the best services to SMEs, it has implemented a few funding schemes to support their innovation champions since 2018 therefore MITA undertakes to lead task 2.1 in GO – SME project on Sharing best practice – support to SMEs at the EU level. 

LXI - Luxembourg

Operating at the heart of Luxembourg’s innovation system, Luxinnovation (founded in 1984) – the National Agency for Innovation and Research – focuses on stimulating the competitiveness of Luxembourg’s economy by promoting research, innovation, creativity and design. Luxinnovation acts as a facilitator for its clients, mainly companies and public research organisations, which are looking for guidance and funding opportunities to implement their innovative projects. To accomplish its mission, Luxinnovation builds on strong institutional partnerships with its board, comprising the government, represented by the relevant national ministries, and national business support organisations.

The RDI Support Department focuses on facilitating access to National and International funding streams, promoting networking and collaboration between research actors. Team members are also the National Contact Points for Horizon 2020, National Delegates to the Horizon 2020 Programme Committees, and Experts to the Shadow Programme Committees for Horizon Europe.

The Start-up Team focuses on supporting innovative start-ups, by providing them with the right tools and information about Luxembourg’s attractive business environment for innovative companies. Our tailored services include supporting start-ups with putting together a business plan, developing their go-to-market strategy during our flagship accelerator Fit 4 Start, as well as providing suitable public business grants or access to private investors for start-ups.

The LXI will share its knowledge mainly in WP 3 in improving business skills of the starts-ups and SMEs, the evaluation of feasibility studies, and how to tailor the services to the needs of the SME´s. 

MCST - Malta 

The Malta Council for Science and Technology (MCST) falls within the remit of the Ministry for Finance and Financial Services. MCST is the government body responsible for research and innovation and space policy and is the National Contact Point Organisation for the EU Framework Programmes since FP5, and is also responsible for the Programme’s committees members. MCST also administers the COST research Programme and the Euraxess Mobility Portal.

MCST is responsible for the National Strategy for Research and Innovation 2020, including smart specialisation. It also coordinates all the European research area (ERA) groups as well as the provision of all technical input to the Competitiveness Council (research and space) and its related workgroups.

MCST manages the National research funding programme FUSION and related internationalisation programmes and incentives for research, development and innovation in science and technology. These funds aim to support knowledge transfer between academia and industry as well the commercialisation of research results.

MCST also runs Malta’s National Interactive Science Centre ESPLORA which opened in 2016 and houses an array of diverse exhibits in a fun and engaging setting as a hub for science communication, by bringing science concepts to all.

ANI - Portugal 

ANI´s Portugal´s National Innovation Agency, is the public entity in charge of knowledge valorisation and transfer between enterprises and knowledge institutions, and is managed by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education and by the Ministry of Economy. The connection between these two Ministries is at the core of ANI´s mandate to promote knowledge-based innovation through collaboration and entrepreneurship. It also cooperates with clusters, science parks, incubators, technology centers; acts as interface between business & academia; is member of EEN, and advises government in R&D&I policies.

ANI manages a set of funding programmes and coordinates the participation of the Delegates to the Horizon Europe  Committees, the  Network of  National  Contact  Points  (NCP) for pilar 2 and 3, and the national representatives of the European Technology Platforms (ETP) and Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs). The PT National Contact Points are responsible for providing Information & Support services for Horizon Europe applicants, resulting in a considerable higher success for Portuguese applications which had ANI´s support versus other Portuguese applications.

MoE SR - Slovak Republic

The Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic (MoE SR) is the central state administration body with responsibilities and competencies in various areas including:

support for small and medium-sized enterprises;

strategy for the creation of a business environment and the promotion of the business environment;

strategy for the creation and implementation of business innovation.

The MoE SR participates in the creation of a unified state policy of the Slovak Republic, performs state administration within the scope of its competence and performs other tasks stipulated in laws and other generally binding legal regulations.

It also acts as a body responsible for the implementation of EU funds aimed at supporting innovation and competitiveness of enterprises, in particular SMEs with the experience in managing/implementing EU funds within the previous as well as the current programming period. For the current 2014–2020 programming period the MoE SR acts as the Intermediary Body for the Operational Programme Integrated Infrastructure, particularly for R&D&I part of the programme, covering support of innovations and SMEs. The Ministry of Economy is also involved in the preparation of the new programming period 2021–2027, in the elaboration of the draft Partnership Agreement and Operational Programme in cooperation with the national coordinating authority, as regards proposals for investment priorities in the field of innovations, SME support, energy efficiency and RES. The designing and implementation of the Seal of Excellence scheme was conducted in close cooperation with the BIC Bratislava as a member of the Enterprise Europe Network.

MoE has already started with analysis of the coaching services on the regional level. The effort will be extended to business acceleration services (provided by Enterprise Europe Network) as well as other coaching-based acceleration schemes available in the frame of national Seal of Excellence schemes or acceleration programmes (incl. EIT, DIH, cascade funding projects, startup support schemes) on the EU-level. The tasks will be implemented in close cooperation with the local representation of the Enterprise Europe Network.

CDTI - Spain 

The Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI) is a Spanish public organization under the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities whose objective is to help Spanish companies to increase their technological profile and competitiveness, either providing them direct funding (around 1000 R&D project/year plus 10 investment funds) or either supporting them to access third parties programmes (i.e. H2020).

CDTI is manned by more than 300 employees, three quarters of which is made up of engineers and graduates. Although the bulk of the infrastructure of CDTI is located in Madrid, the Centre support the Spanish companies abroad in their international technological activities through a network with premises in Japan -SBTO-, Belgium -SOST, Brazil -FINEP-, Korea, Chile, Morocco, China, India and Mexico.

CDTI has wide experience in European R&D landscape at operational level firstly as participant, as we have taken part in more than 50 projects during FP7 and H2020, including ERANETS, CSA and NCP networks, and secondly, as professional support service in our daily work as NCP, where we give support to approx. 1500 proposals/year to participate in H2020 Societal Challenges and LEIT, including both the SME instrument and the FTI. 

These two elements give us a strong knowledge-base with respect to H2020 in general and SMEs in particular and the needed elements to consider when SMEs aims to access EU funding and global markets.

In the last years, CDTI is also progressing in designing and implementing new ways to support SMEs in the strategic use of the EU programmes funds as a way to increase their competitiveness in the longer term, thanks to our increasing involvement within TAFTIE (the network of innovation agencies in Europe). In this respect, we have recent experiences at EU and national level in supporting SMEs in their strategic plan towards international innovation as well as their access to the market.

In terms of direct funding:

In terms of accessing third parties’ programmes:

ACCIÓ - Spain 

The Catalan Agency for Business Competitiveness (ACCIÓ) is the competitiveness agency, affiliated to the Ministry of business and knowledge of the Government of Catalonia. Created 30 years ago, ACCIÓ has a network of offices worldwide and its headquarters are in Barcelona. 

ACCIÓ’s main objective is to promote innovation and internationalization among Catalan companies (especially SMEs, as they represent 99% of all the companies in the region) as well as attracting inward investment. It offers support for strategy, R&D, innovation and internationalization to companies and entrepreneurs to improve their competitiveness. The support is open to all sectors and it provides opportunities to create new companies and consolidate the growth of those which already exist. Having designed, developed and implemented several successful programmes, ACCIÓ is a key part of the competitiveness of Catalan SMEs. ACCIÓ has a broad experience in coordinating and managing funding programmes in innovation and internationalization both at the national and international level.

ACCIÓ is currently participating in 15 projects (of which 6 as coordinator), from different programmes (6 from Horizon 2020; 1 from COSME; 1 from EuropeAid; 2 from Interreg Europe, 2 from Interreg Poctefa and 1 from Interreg Sudoe). Nowadays ACCIÓ coordinates the EEN node in Catalonia (CATCIM 2021), and it is implementing local visibility actions in the EEN framework through H2020 projects (INNCAT 2021).

ACCIÓ is specialised in promoting innovation and internationalisation among SMEs and has implemented several successful programmes focused on enhancing innovation management capacities of SMEs including mentoring and coaching services over the last 20 years. Therefore, ACCIÓ will lead WP 3 dedicated to Support services to beneficiaries. 

IESE BS - Spain 

IESE Business School (IESE) is widely recognized as one of the world's leading international business schools, continually ranking among the top positions in the most prestigious international financial publications like the Financial Times and The Economist. Top 3 in Executive Education in the world for the past four years according to the above newspaper.

IESE has a global reach through its campuses and programs. The school presently has campuses in Barcelona, Madrid and New York, along with offices in Munich (Germany) and Sao Paulo (Brazil). IESE has also been the impetus behind the creation of a network of 18 associated business schools in Asia, Africa and Latin America. More than 2,000 executives participate in IESE programs each year and the school’s alumni community includes more than 50,000 professionals from over 100 countries working around the globe. IESE is strong in several key areas involved in this proposal:

Teaching and training, besides its current teaching, IESE holds special programs targeting entrepreneurs in an international context: “Venture and Growth Academy” programs have been delivered in Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Portugal, United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Czeck Republic, Poland and Bulgary.

Networking, possessing a wide reach among alumni, non-alumni and relevant institutions in the business world that contribute to engagement, reach to small and medium sized mid-caps and dissemination.

Matchmaking for investment. IESE’s angel network is the most dynamic angel network in Spain with more than 30 million euros invested in 158 starups. IESE is an active member of European angel networks associations such as EBAN (European Business Angel Network) and BAE (Business Angel Networks) and currently holds the Presidency of the Spanish association of angel networks. For the past four years the network has been investing in more than 20 startups every year, in particular in 29 in 2016.

Support to entrepreneurs: IESE has been a pioneer in offering services to entrepreneurs and start-ups. It is particularly active in facilitating the access to finance and knowledge to alumni and non-alumni entrepreneurs through the venture capital fund FINAVES and the Business Angel Network. These last being the leading angel network in Spain with more than 16 million euros invested in 85% non-alumni related startups. IESE is an active member of European angel networks associations such as EBAN (European Business Angel Network) and BAE (Business Angel Networks) and currently holds the Presidency of the Spanish association of angel networks.