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European Commission Enterprise and Industry Connecting SMEs to international opportunities and IP – the ecosystem approach Eoin Costello

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Presentation on theme: "European Commission Enterprise and Industry Connecting SMEs to international opportunities and IP – the ecosystem approach Eoin Costello"— Presentation transcript:

1 European Commission Enterprise and Industry Connecting SMEs to international opportunities and IP – the ecosystem approach Eoin Costello

2 Title of the presentation | Date | ‹#› What led me to being in front of you today (apart from a love of all things Polish)? I’m going to tell you a story....

3 I was invited to speak at EEN Belfast by a nice fellow

4 As a result I got speaking to another nice fellow

5 As a result I became involved in the EEN Ireland project of mapping innovation supports available to SMEs through the SME Inno Info Days to identify niches EEN can generate most impact.

6 What I found and know from my own experience “SMEs are struggling every day for economic survival… lack of time, lack of resources, lack of skilled employees, lack of easy to use technology adapted to SMEs” Source: SMEs GoDigital EU Conference Report

7 “SMEs and local clusters are now competing in a global and dynamic market where they need more interrelations, more specialised resources, more research and innovation as well as access to global value chains and knowledge.” Source: Nachira 2007 Digital Ecosystems

8 Knowledge, resources for innovation? Sounds like a job for Institutes of Technology, which in Ireland are assigned the role of providers of applied and multi- technology solutions to industrial needs

9 The search for a subject for my Dissertation became the search for a better way


11 I particularly focussed on SMEs in the Incubation Centre at the case study Higher Education Institution (HEI). These centres were introduced to start to bridge this HEI- SME divide and increase the number of knowledge intensive startups - In Ireland there are 8 university located incubation centres and 16 IoTs incubation centres

12 What’s different? Standard ecosystem model – Keystone is the business or start-up

13 Disadvantages of this formulation Departure of keystone company for other countries Lack of diversity Lower knowledge spillovers Lower participation by intermediaries Behaviour not amenable to being an instrument of national policies

14 Methodology In-depth interviews with 3 incubation centre SMEs In-depth interviews with 3 SMEs in the high technology/web sectors In-depth interviews with 4 current HEI students at the case study Institute In-depth interviews with the Heads of School and Incubation Centre manager I mapped all the interactions between these three constituents HEI-SME-Student looking at tie strength in the network

15 I found that through my research and work as an Enterprise Ireland Start Up Mentor some SMEs in incubation centres were working isolated from the international market as they failed to leverage external knowledge and collaborate using the partnering opportunities and IP search services of EEN.

16 How many people here have experience of the struggles of their HEI – SME interface? Please share your thoughts. If both sides of the HEI-SME innovation interface could be brought to see the commonality of their mutual strategic interests Pera (2009) the HEI- SME Innovation Interface could become far more symbiotic.

17 My findings – SME side In my sample 80% were suspicious of higher education institutions because: Too long to collaborate, process not satisfactory(SMEs sensed that it was not assigned a high enough priority at the HEI), outcome not commercially useable or practical.

18 My findings – HEI side On the higher education side similar findings, attitudes included – suspicion, feeling that SMEs were unrealistic in their expectations, lack of common language, their current workloads and incentives not aligned with the needs of SMEs

19 Conclusions- in the cases I examined The HEI-SME innovation interface is not working as well as it could Incubation Centre SMEs need the input of EEN but are not sufficiently aware of the network or the benefits it offers – in the sample I questioned none of the SMEs had engaged with EEN.

20 Effective engagement - What are the issues in linking up with EEN? Need transivity and homophilly in the network – two terms from Social Network Analysis

21 Transivity Transivity - in social network analysis and is a property of relational ties. If there is a tie between A and B and one between B and C then in a transitive network A and C will also become connected. However Epstein points out that different ties have different density. Those with whom one "interacts most intensely and most regularly" are termed the "effective network".

22 Homophilly Homophilly: the tendency of individuals to associate and bond with similar others using a common technical language and objectives. The presence of transivity and homophilly in a network will normally lead to the ecosystem becoming more dense.

23 Downside to very dense networks - can become impervious to external change and knowledge, homogeneous groups that exhibit extreme homogenisation can act counter to innovation (group think).

24 Conclusions An action plan for EEN: Invest resources in fine-tuning the interfaces – from use of language on websites to application forms Focus at developing long term collaborative relationships with “wholesale” producers of SMEs that need the input of the EEN – third level incubation centres.

25 My questions to you: Does anyone have experience/knowledge of initiatives between EEN + Incubation Centres? Do you feel it is something EEN should focus on?

26 Dziekuje za uwage Name: Eoin Costello Organisation: Linkedin: Eoin Killian Costello

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