In the course of two years of actions the Horizon 2020 funded project RespiceSME developed several hands-on tools to enable Photonics SMEs to capitalize on their innovative potential.
The now-published handbook presents the RespiceSME Toolbox for technological innovation support, providing guidelines for implementation and best-practice examples drawn from the project. With the release of the handbook the RespiceSME project concludes its activities in providing business development services to the European Photonics community.
"The handbook is targeted towards cluster managers, business developers and corporate consultants who seek to better understand the determining factors of innovation capacities in high-tech Photonics SMEs. The ability to innovate is paramount for SMEs that operate in a highly dynamic market such as Photonics and want to stay competitive and grow their business." explains Samantha Michaux, RespiceSME project coordinator the scope of the handbook.
The handbook e.g. outlines how to conduct an innovation audit with SMEs, assessing their capability to develop and put novel products on the market, and how to formulate a coherent business innovation strategy on the basis of the results. The RespiceSME Value Chain Analysis, another tool included, helps SMEs to prepare the launch of products in non-photonics fields, drawing on the great cross-sectoral potential of Photonics as Key Enabling Technology. In addition to tools for assessment, the handbook also presents funding and financing opportunities for Photonics SMEs and how to make use of these.
All tools have been validated in the framework of the RespiceSME project. Over 300 Photonics SMEs received the support of RespiceSME by participating in innovation audits, business strategy workshops and brokerage events at international trade fairs.
RespiceSME also facilitated trans-European cooperation among Photonics and Non-Photonics companies through the dissemination of Business & Technology Profiles of Photonics SMEs via its own platform and the Enterprise Europe Network. A highlight of the project marked the RespiceSME Photonics Video Pitch Contest. SMEs from all over Europe presented innovative products and applications of light technologies in short video clips. The contest showed once again the high innovativeness of the European Photonics sector.
Looking back on two years of work on stimulating the competitiveness of European Photonics SMEs, the RespiceSME partners are very optimistic with regard to the future of the sector in Europe. Optics and Photonics have already a big impact on Europe's industry today and with new applications, e.g. for autonomous driving or in additive manufacturing, they will grow to even greater importance.