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Internationalisation of innovation in SMEs

The strategic objective of this study is to contribute to the development of a policy for fostering the internationalisation of innovation activities of European SMEs. There are three underlying principal policy goals: (1) More competitive SMEs in their traditional markets; (2) More European innovating SMEs benefiting from foreign and in particular third country economies, and (3) Establishment of an EU action plan to facilitate internationalisation of innovation in SMEs. The action plan shall include strategies to address particular challenges posed by Research & Innovation (R&I) cooperation with foreign partners, in particular those from third country economies. The study team will collect and analyse data for presentation at a conference on the topic. This conference will contribute to strengthening the capacity of European SMEs to exploit their untapped innovation potential through internationalisation. The study team will prepare research papers including case studies as well as an analysis of strengths, weaknesses and threats (SWOT analysis) of SMEs’ internationalisation of innovation activities.


Final Report

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Workshop Summary

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Workshop Programme

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09.30 - 10.00

Registration and welcome coffee


Part I: Current practices: how European SMEs internationalise their innovation activity (case studies, challenges, issues)


10.00 - 10.15

Welcome and introduction

  • Jean-David Malo, European Commission, DG Research & Innovation, B3 – SMEs, Financial Instruments and State Aid
10.15 - 11.15

Empirical evidence:

Findings from a European study on the internationalisation of innovation in SMEs

  • Dr. Stefan Lilischkis, Senior Consultant, empirica GmbH


What experts think about related issues: results of an online survey

  • Hannes Selhofer, Project Manager, InnovationLab, Salzburg Research GmbH



  • Margaret Mulligan / David Tee, EBN Innovation Network


11.15 - 11.45

Case studies/best practices:

Examples of SMEs with international innovation activities

LifeTec (Netherlands): customising innovative services in medical testing for international clients

  • Dr. Lars Mulder, Director of Operations


WEPROG (Denmark/Germany): providing innovative weather forecast services for large international business customers

  • Dr. Corinna Möhrlen, Director



11.45 - 12.30



12.30 - 13.15

Lunch break


Part II: Policies in support of SMEs’ international RDI activities

13.15 - 14.15

Initiatives of the European Commission to promote the internationalisation of SMEs – an overview

  • Samuel Maenhout, European Commission, DG Research & Innovation


A comparative analysis of policy measures to support SMEs: good practice examples, lessons learned, and recommendations for future policy (presentation of study findings)

  • Robbin te Velde, Principal Researcher, Dialogic



  • Christin Pfeiffer, Secretary General, INSME
  • David Golding, Innovate UK


14.15 - 15.00


15.00 - 15.20

Coffee break

15.20 - 16.00

Concluding remarks and discussion - the way forward


 Workshop chaired by Mr Hannes Selhofer, Salzburg Research GmbH.


 Case Studies

Acreo, Sweden

Download [843 KB]

Aisense, Slovenia

Download [865 KB]

Fruit Freshly, Germany

Download [929 MB]

Intermet, Poland

Download [3,27 MB]

Kapro Industries, Israel

Download [902 KB]

KeyGene, the Netherlands

Download [911 MB]

LifeTec, the Netherlands

Download [1,01 MB]

NUMECA, Belgium

Download [1,00 MB]

poLight, Norway

Download [894 KB]

Real Project Partner, France

Download [1,07 MB]

Ticketbis, Spain

Download [971 KB]

WEPROG, Denmark/Germany

Download [962 KB]