The coaching system is the result of a step-by-step development process. In 2002, Western Switzerland decided to focus their Regional Innovation Strategy on the untapped innovation potentials of the SMEs in the region. The evidence at the time was that almost half of the SMEs’ innovation projects weren’t implemented successfully due to considerable internal shortfalls. In contrast to the traditional innovation policy that focused on the supply side (research organisations etc.), the regional choice centred clearly on a need and demand driven approach.
About the same time, the EC launched a discussion on how to improve the poor performance of the exploitation of R&D results by SMEs. They EU Supportive Action programme was set up to address this issue, one of the proposals selected for funding in 2005 was the smE-MPOWER project. Enthused by the very positive feedback from SMEs involved in the project, the project team initiated the international smE-MPOWER community as soon as the project was completed in 2008.
The mission of this community was to further develop the overall concept and to disseminate the proven coaching approach. Since then, smE-MPOWER progressed to a transferrable and scalable system with implementations in Western Switzerland (platinn), Brno region of the Czech Republic (JIC) and the European Union (SME Instrument). smE-MPOWER includes two transferable ‘components’: the Coaching System and the Web-based Platforms.
Wihin CoachCom2020 (H2020-635518; 09/2014-11/2016) the smE-MPOWER team helped the EASME (the European Commission Agency responsible for the management of the SME Instrument initiative) in the development of a their business innovation coaching offered to the beneficiaries of the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument.
CoachCom2020 provided the SME Instrument coaching community with an organizational set-up, an operational platform, and an infrastructure for peer learning. Meanwhile over 1700 coaching activities implying over 1200 SMEs, 400 coaches and 300 KAMs in 85 countries are managed by the smE-MPOWER system.
The CoachCom2020 consortium: Innovayt SA (DK) (Coordinator), Platinn – Association Plateforme pour l’Innovation (CH), Scottish Enterprise (UK), Lithuanian Innovation Centre (LT), TII – Association Européenne pour le Transfert des Technologies (LU), CENTRIM at the University of Brighton (UK) and Oppidoc SARL (FR).
Jindrich Weiss, JIC
Arvydas Sutkus, LIC
Udo Gennari, BIZ-UP
Christoph Meier, platinn
Andreas Wolf, Shifthappens
Susanne Lüders, Saxony Anhalt
Ales Bocek, JIC
Pavel Csank, JICAdéla Hradilová, JIC
Pavla Matulová, JIC
Ondrej Petrásek, JIC
Tereza Tomícková, JIC
Iva Walterová, JIC
Manfred Ruhmer, BIZ-UP
Stéphanie Pellet, platinn