The Role Of Sme Associations In Encouraging Research & Innovation
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  • 1. The Role of SME Associations in Encouraging Research & Innovation Experiences from the Textile & Clothing Industry Conference “ Research, Innovation and European SMEs” Dublin, 3 June 2004 Lutz Walter European Apparel & Textile Organisation
  • 2. EU-25 Textile-Clothing Industry Key Figures (200 2) Industry * >95% SME’s 15 Employee/Company 2,9% Investment/Turnover 366,3 Apparent consumption b€ 6,67 Investment b€ 186.533 Companies* 65,2 Added Value billion € 2.7 Employment million persons 227,0 Turnover b€
  • 3. The World of Textiles Disposal / Recycling Fibre Thread Fabric Finished Fabric Clothing (Fashion & Function) Home Textiles Distribution / Retail Textile Services
    • Hotels
    • Hospitals
    • Public
    • Services
    Private Consumption Commercial Use
    • Applications in
      • Automotive
      • Construction
      • Agriculture
      • Medical Sector
      • ...
    • High Street
    • Comp.Outlet
    • Mail Order
    • Type n
    Technical Textiles Industry Service Provider The Chemical Fibre Industry The Textile Industry The Apparel Industry Non-conventional Textile Processing Retail
  • 4. Euratex Members
    • Countries:
    • EU-25
    • EFTA : CH-NW
    • Medit. Rim :
    • Turkey, Morocco
    • Textile Branches:
    • Cotton, Wool, Man-made fibres, Silk & silk-type, Linen, Finishing, Knitting & knitwear, Carpets, Embroidery, Ribbons, Braids, Sewing threads, Twines, Ropes, Nets, Furnishing textiles ...
  • 5. Major Current Concerns
    • International Trade
    • Research & Development, Innovation
    • Environment
    • Intellectual Property
    • Social Dialogue
  • 6. EURATEX-R&D Mission
    • To cooperate with all stakeholders in textile-related research in order to assure a maximum activity in joint European projects to the full benefit of the European textile & clothing industry.
    Euratex R&D
  • 7. European Textile Research Community Research Working Group EURATEX R&D and Projects Department European Textile & Clothing Industry Working Group Research Relationships European Research Policy
  • 8. Tasks of the Research Working Group
    • Inform industry about EU Research Programmes
    • Discuss European R&D policies and their relevance to the T/C sector, issue opinions and recommendations
    • Liaise with EU research policy makers
    • Develop long-term research priorities for the sector
    • Coordinate European research activities
    • Generate project ideas & facilitate partner search
    • Present results of collaborative R&D projects
    Euratex R&D
  • 9. First hand Experience from EU Projects involving SME’s
    • Direct involvement of Euratex in selected projects of strategic importance to the industry as a whole.
    • Main role: coordination and dissemination of results
    • Main fields: research in applied information & environmental technologies, technology transfer, benchmarking , technology standards
    • Programmes: NMP, IST, SME schemes (Collective Research, ETI)
    Euratex R&D
  • 10. R&D/Innovation needs of SME’s
    • First-class research & best of breed technology
    • Flexibly accessible local assistance through trusted partners
    • Joint developments with suppliers/customers
    • Incentives for R&D/innovation and favourable framework conditions
    • Flexible quick-responding support programmes
    SME Needs
  • 11. The ideal SME Programme
    • Provides for full bottom-up initiatives without a thematic or political straightjacket
    • Has open calls and pre-proposal checking facilities
    • Has a programme budget that adapts to funding demands to ensure reasonable success rates
    • Needs no more than 3 months from proposal submission to project start
    • Allows maximum flexibility in the number and type of partners
    • Has a light administration and simple transparent procedures
    • Ensures quick reliable payments
    • Allows for flexible revision of scientific/technical objectives during the course of the project
    • Still provides for projects with a minimum duration serious research/innovation requires (min. 2 years)
    Industry Needs
  • 12. The advantages of industry associations
    • Knowledge of needs and problems of their member companies
    • Unique position in terms of industry reach and networking power
    • Not tight up in day-to-day commercial operations, able to look at the bigger picture in economic, political and regulatory terms and think more long-term
    • Multi-linguistic and international management skills
    • Depend on a neutral and objective stance vis-à-vis their various members
    Industry Needs Role of Associations
  • 13. Association’s limitations
    • Big collective organisations are often distant from the problems of their (small) individual members
    • Can be paralysed by conflicting interests within their membership
    • Often lack scientific/technological expertise, project & IPR management skills
    • Influence on research programmes, priority setting and project selection is often limited
    Role of Associations
  • 14. Characteristics of a good SME-innovation supporting association
    • A clearly defined sector, technology or market-oriented profile
    • R&D/Innovation as strategic key objective of the association and corresponding staff profile
    • Recognised R&D/Innovation reference for its members
    • Trusted relationships to research community, policy makers and other relevant stakeholders
    • Efficient direct two-way communication channels to members
    • Strongly controlled and majority subscription-funded by industry members
    Role of Associations
  • 15. How can policy support associations in their innovation role?
    • Provide an innovation-friendly regulatory framework
    • Involve associations in programme definition, priority setting and management of support schemes – build programmes that correspond to industrial reality
    • Reduce complexity/bureaucracy and ensure more stability of innovation support programmes
    • Support relevant knowledge and skill development of association staff
    • Support communication between associations and their members
    Role of Associations