SME Engagement

SME participation in RD&I collaborative innovation

Thanks to AENEAS and its partners in the Electronics Components and Systems (ECS) ecosystem, collaborative RD&I project consortia include a high proportion of SMEs that benefit from partnerships with large enterprises, other SMEs, research and technology organisations and universities:

  • over 28% SME participation in RD&I collaborative projects of KDT for the Calls 2021-2022.
  • over 39% SME participation in RD&I collaborative projects of PENTA and EURIPIDES* for the Calls from 2016 to 2021 and over.                             

* including the 2020 and 2021 Joint PENTA and EURIPIDES Calls

SMEs together

Your voice is heard

AENEAS is committed to helping the creation of cross-border consortia, with the intent to strengthen Europe’s position along the Electronics Value Chain. This requires the combination of innovation and ideas from the SME sector allied, where appropriate, with larger companies, research and technology organisations and universities.

To make this happen, the AENEAS SME Engagement Council is strongly involved in stimulating the participation of SMEs in collaborative innovation projects and facilitating their access to public funding. The SME Engagement Council is listening to SMEs, giving them the floors during events and conducting surveys aiming at influencing public funding programmes.

During EFECS 2021 event, valuable learnings have been shared by SMEs participating in RD&I collaborative projects in the panel session ‘What makes a Call SME friendly?’. “While participating may indeed require some SME’s team great investment, it allows SMEs to take more R&D risks and to be more competitive and innovative”. One of the panelists outlined that “to keep customers at the forefront, innovation is key. And SMEs cannot develop everything by themselves”. Another panelist concluded that “SMEs can be the speedboat among the larger ships that generate the main direction in technology advancements”. Some of the presentations are available here and here.

A survey has also been conducted in 2018 by the AENEAS SME Engagement Council and integrating the feedback of SME members of the two sisters associations Inside and EPoSS, of SMEs participating in funding programmes of the EC, ECSEL as well as EUREKA and of SMEs involved in regional clusters such as ARCSIS, DSP Valley, Minalogic, SCS, Silicon Saxony,  Systematic and other European clusters. Learn more about the results here. The learnings from the survey have been used to implement changes in the management process of the Eureka Cluster PENTA and to provide recommendations to the Public Authorities funding PENTA. They have also influenced the organisation of the Xecs Cluster launched on July 2021.


What AENEAS does for SMEs

Networking and brokerage events

A rapidly increasing number of SMEs are part of the ECS ecosystem. Take the opportunity to get involved in the AENEAS yearly organised or co-organised collaborative ECS events and become part of a valuable community of large industry, other SMEs, research and Technology organisations and universities working together to advance RD&I. It is a unique chance for you to pitch your SME expertise or project idea, showcase a project idea poster or have a booth in our exhibition.

This can help you to find new project ideas, meet new partners, be part of consortia and get involved in RD&I projects that may be funded. AENEAS also offers you support to find the most suitable funding instruments and to apply.

AENEAS SME Directory

SMEs need to present their activities and expertise to the whole Electronics Components and Systems community. SMEs are an essential part of the innovation ecosystem. They are the bedrock of the economy.

In order to improve visibility and advertise for SMEs skills, AENEAS is editing the AENEAS SME directory. All SMEs that are members of AENEAS can be part of it, it is a living document which is regularly updated. See the latest edition here. This brochure is available on the AENEAS website and is distributed during our organised or co-organised events. This is a golden opportunity to increase the visibility of your business to the ECS community and to potential new partners.


ECS Collaboration Tool

On top of the events which AENEAS organises or co-organises, AENEAS offers you free access to the ECS Collaboration Tool.

The ECS Collaboration Tool is open to all experts in Electronic Components and Systems and available 24/7. The Tool offers you the opportunity to initiate projects and invite partners, use the messaging system,  look for partners or others’ project ideas in order to finally build and reinforce your consortia. After forming consortia, project teams can assess the best mechanism for funding support for their project, be it a National, Chips JU, European Commission or EUREKA type funding. Register for free here.


SME testimonials

Watch Alain Jarre, ex-CEO of RECIF Technologies and member of the AENEAS SME Engagement Council to discover his testimonial on AENEAS support and more generally on the benefits of collaborative innovation for SMEs. 

AENEAS has interviewed five SMEs, Excillum, AnyWi Technologies, Synano, Reden, and consider it GmbH, members of AENEAS and involved in KDT JU  or Penta-Euripides² projects. The interviewees explain why it is so important for them to join, how brokerage events can help to succeed, and which benefits AENEAS membership brings.  Listen to their useful highlights and advice to newcomers.

As a SME, the benefits to take part in collaborative funded projects are:

  • Accelerate your growth: while participating in a collaborative innovation project, you are sharing the risks. It allows you to reduce your RD&I costs and you may also receive funding. You benefit from a pool of expertise to allow a faster product development, faster launch on the market, and an  access to new markets. All these factors contribute to increase your exports and your growth.
  • Increase your international visibility: dedicated SME expertise pitch sessions, exhibitions for SMEs (for free), new project ideas posters or running projects outcomes demonstration (for free) as well as networking cocktail and diners (costs included in entrance fee of the events) are proposed by AENEAS to support the promotion of your SME expertise in an international environment.
  • Gain access to all stakeholders and a valuable recognition: while being involved in a collaborative RD&I project, you will have direct access to large enterprises, research organisations and universities representatives. After a first successful participation in a consortium, this experience allows you to gain recognition from the ecosystem of participants. AENEAS supports you in the process of finding new partners and creating consortia while applying to Chips JU or Eureka Xecs Calls.  

AENEAS Membership

AENEAS membership is free. There is no fee to join the Association. If you are interested in participating in funded collaborative programmes, such as Xecs, and Chips JU, AENEAS provides  you with extensive support. When you actually receive funding, AENEAS will ask you to pay a Variable Contribution, thereby ensuring it can continue its mission.

Discover AENEAS membership benefits here.