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Support to the international development of new innovative entrepreneurs (INNOVINT)
Start date: Aug 31, 2004, End date: Dec 30, 2007 PROJECT  FINISHED 

INNOVINTs overall objective is threefold. It aims to design new tools that help SMEs and entrepreneurs develop their activities internationally to develop regional and interregional financial and consulting networks which facilitate the internationalisation of SMEs and entrepreneurs; and which disseminate best practice in this field at regional and EU level. By disseminating best practice, it will also produce new ideas for the next round of EU mainstream funding programmes, due to run from 2007 to 2013. Achievements: Achievements so far The Innovint project aim: provide assistance to innovative entrepreneurs & SMEs in early development stages for their internationalisation of activities. Innovint began at the end of 2004 with 10 partner organisations from 7 EU member states: France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland & Spain after the LP signed the subsidy contract in November 2004. LP set up internal controls, prepared propositions of the Core Work Program & budget for the Kick-off & first steering committee, held in Paris in Dec. 2004 covering the distribution component responsibilities & confirmation of meeting places & dates, time plan & work program. After the Steering Committee the LP prepared & proposed Individual provisional budgets to each partner & individual cooperation agreements. Innovints approach is organised around pilot experiments with a target of 100 entrepreneurs. These experiments (ways & means of bringing 1 entrepreneur into contact with entrepreneurs from other regions) were actively followed by the partners to determine the tools & methods that provide the most effective & efficient responses to the entrepreneurs needs for international development. The partners developed & adopted common tools & methods for the analysis of entrepreneurs needs, the selection of participants & have tested different formats for the pilot experiments. The LP proposed a format change to collective 'inter-regional business meetings' (IBM) which has proven to be the most efficient method for mobilizing the entrepreneurs. The1st IBM held in Gijon, Spain in March 2006 had 12 companies, from the Gijon & Malaga regions. They presented their activities & then met individually with 20 other participants -INNOVINT partners, experts & partner enterprises. The conclusions of the 1st IBM collective approach were quite positive. 9 more were held over the 2nd semester 2006 & 1st semester 2007. Throughout the project Innovint: more than 170 enterprises enterprises and partner institutions were involved and participated actively in the pilot experiments of IBM enterprise encounters.Exchange & reflections: The Milan Conference 'Grow Globally' in October 2005 addressed best practices, tools, support systems & case examples of innovative, young internationally developing SMEs with experts input on the subject. A seminar on financial tools was held in Galway, in June 2006. In April 2007 in Wroclaw, PL a workshop seminar (Regional Innovation Policy) – provided discussion of different political approaches to supporting SMEs in Europe. In November 2007 an international conference, political and financial, 'Policies and financial tools supporting the innovation and internationalization of SMEs' was held in Milan. All of the above have helped advance the main project objectives and to help us propose suggestions for new policy & actions. Steering and coordination committee meetings also brought enrichment and new insights for all the participants and institutions concerned.
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