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SPANISH AND ITALIAN SMEs AT THE TOP FOR EUROPEAN FUNDING

In the two-year period 2014-2015, Spain and Italy have been the most successful European Countries in getting the SME Instrument funding, a tool created by the European Commission and lanched specifically for the 2014-2020 period, with the aim to sustain the activities of research and innovation of the innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). To reveal it is a study elaborated by Aster, the Emilia-Romagna region’s consortium for innovation and industrial research, that has conduceted an analysis based on the data furnished by the Executive European Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME).

 

The SME Instrument is a funding tool aimed to sustain those SMEs developing innovation (of product, service, process and business model) in order to gain competitiveness on national and international markets. It is characterized by three phases following the whole innovative cycle: 1) Lump sum to estimate the technical-commercial feasibility of the planning idea; 2) Grant for the activity of R&D with a focus on the model’s development on an industrial scale and for the first implementation on market; 3) Measures to support marketing and the use of results.

From this study has emerged that 1.635 are the overall SMEs funded by the European Union during the two- year period 2014-2015 for a total of 1.440 projects, divided on 13 different themes of research such as ICT, nanotechnologies, energy and transportations. Between these 1.635 financed enterprises, 1.280 have received contributions for a feasibility study on the idea of business (phase 1) and 355 for the realization of an innovative project (phase 2).
Spain and Italy lead this rank, respectively with 309 and 276 approved and funded projects, followed by U.K. (201), Germany (119) and France (91).

In regard to the disclosed proposals Italy is the most dynamic Country with a total of 3.709 projects, followed by Spain with 2.913 proposals, UK with 1.788, Germany with 1.344 and France with 1.139; whereas if we look at the rate of success (comparison between applications disclosed and won), Italy with only a 7,4% is exceeded by UK (11,2%), Spain (10,6%), Germany (8,8%) and France (7,9%) while the European average is about 8,5%. Regarding the contributions UK, Spain, Italy, France, Holland and Germany have obtained around the 60% of the funding contributed by the EU on a general total value of €500 million available for the two-year period 2014 -2015.

From the data relating to the funding themes of research emerges that Spain is ranked first for Disruptive Innovation (with 60 SMEs for 60 projects won), Food production and processing (with 46 SMEs for 44 projects won), Transportations (with 32 SMEs for 30 projects won), Biomarkers and diagnostic medical devices (with 26 SMEs for 26 projects won), Eco-innovation (with 26 SMEs for 26 projects won); whereas Italy is leading in the fields of Nanotechnologies (with 46 SMEs for 38 projects won), Transportations (with 46 SMEs for 41 projects won), Eco-innovation (with 36 SMEs for 28 projects won) and Space (with 19 SMEs for 17 projects won).

After the positive result of the data obtained during this first two-year period the European Union has already decided to strengthen the budget addressed to the SME Instrument for the two-year period 2016-2017 up to €740 million with the aim to fund further deeply innovative ideas in order to turn them into concrete solutions for the market.

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