While the 70 Viability Assessment Projects (VAPs) funded under Call 2 of INNOWWIDE are coming to an end, the results of the impact assessment of Call 1 have confirmed the highly positive effects of VAPs on the internationalisation of innovative European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The impact assessment of the 50 VAPs funded under Call 1 comprised comprehensive surveys and focus groups among the beneficiaries which covered the outcome of the VAPs as well as the perception of the call implementation.
As a key result, the VAPs have proven to be door-openers for internationalisation – or as one beneficiary put it: “INNOWWIDE served as a great ‘internationalisation lab’ for our company”. Two-thirds of the beneficiaries cooperated with their VAP target country for the first time. Due to the VAPs, over 90% of the European SMEs have created new networks in the respective international target markets and will continue to cooperate with their local partners. Moreover, more than 90% have gained access to new customers. The beneficiaries reported that the VAPs have produced valuable outcomes for their companies such as e.g. a refined market knowledge and positioning and improvements of their business model viability and their collaboration and innovation culture. Thus, 94% of all 50 European SMEs said that the VAP had an impact on their competitiveness.
Regarding the implementation of Call 1, the majority of focus group participants perceived the processes for reporting and receiving funding as good and intuitive in general. Moreover, the participants emphasised that INNOWWIDE was particularly useful for them as it filled a current gap in EU and national funding programmes for SMEs. As a potential area of improvement, the INNOWWIDE consortium identified the need to provide more follow-up support to the beneficiaries which was addressed by introducing a dedicated follow-up process.
While the interim assessment has demonstrated the high impact of the VAPs under Call 1, the INNOWWIDE consortium will now extensively assess the projects funded under Call 2. The conclusions of the final impact assessment will be reflected in recommendations on R&I policy which will be delivered at the end of the INNOWWIDE project.