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 ECSEL for the Calls from 2014 to 2020
- over 39% SME participation in RD&I collaborative projects of PENTA and EURIPIDES* for the Calls from 2016 to 2021 * including the 2020 and 2021 Joint PENTA and EURIPIDES Calls
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 new Xecs Cluster launched on July 2021.
What AENEAS does for SMEs
A rapidly increasing number of SME’s are part of the ECS ecosystem. Take the opportunity to get involved in AENEAS yearly events such as the ECS brokerage event (with free entrance for AENEAS members) or EFECS, and become part of a valuable community of large enterprises, other SMEs, research and Technology organisations and universities working together to advance RD&I.
This can help you to find new project ideas, meet new partners, be part of consortia and be involved in RD&I projects which may be funded. AENEAS also offers you support to find the most suitable funding instruments and to apply
Watch Alain Jarre, CEO of RECIF Technologies and active member of the AENEAS SME Engagement Council and discover his testimonial on AENEAS support and more generally on the benefits of collaborative innovation for SMEs.
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 Key Digital Technologies JU (KDT JU) or Eureka Xecs Calls.
- AENEAS SME Directory:
SMEs present their activities and expertise to the Electronics Components and Systems community. SMEs are an essential part of the EC innovation ecosystem. They are the bedrock of the economy. In order to improve visibility and advertise for SMEs skills, AENEAS is editing this SME directory. All SMEs which 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 EFECS and ECS brokerage 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 access to the ECS Collaboration Tool. This platform offers you the opportunity to find new projects ideas and exchange with peers from the ECS community.
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 KDT, 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.