Lutz Walter


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Fashion, apparel, textile, merchandising, garments

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Lutz Walter

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