As a subject matter expert (SME), Flexiant has worked closely with many European research projects for the past four years. The European Commission is providing a lot of support and guidance for SMEs and we are really pleased to be part of these cutting edge initiatives.
The EU has clearly recognized that SMEs are the backbone of the European economy. No surprise, when you see that Flexiant and our SME peers account for more than 98% of all enterprises, 67% of employment, and 58% of gross value added across Europe . So we’re preparing to fully engage and focus on taking our innovative ideas to the market via H2020.
There have been several positive changes for SMEs taking part in H2020. Flexiant welcomes these changes and believes H2020 can expand on our previous success in the FP7 program by broadening our knowledge and experience and our exploration of market opportunities. In brief, the most welcome changes for SMEs in H2020 include:
- A broader scope of project themes
- More adequate participation rules
- The possibility of a lead role within a consortium
- The broadening of activities eligible for funding
- The single company support in case of European added-value,
- A specific action focusing on research intensive SMEs
This allows Flexiant, as an SME, to shift more focus and resource to what we are good at, namely innovating our cloud orchestration software for the benefit of service providers and their end users, and continuing to increase our global footprint.
Further to that, there has been simplification of legal and financial rules and an emphasis on unlocking the vast amount of valuable research and Intellectual Property that is held by universities and research centres across Europe as part of a fast track to market policy for innovating SMEs.
We then come to the jewel in the crown for SME participation in H2020, namely ‘The SME Instrument’: a dedicated SME funding mechanism. At Flexiant, we always considered we were well placed, as an agile SME, to take the fullest advantage to convert the great ideas of collaborative research into commercially ready innovation that benefits our customers. The SME instrument really gives SMEs like Flexiant the opportunity to build, develop and test truly innovative ideas for commercial release. This is great news for Flexiant who can use the instrument to aid our business development and continue to propel our software to compete at a European and global level.
The SME instrument will help to bring the ideas to the market, through a three phase approach, where successful completion of one stage will allow an SME to move on to the next sequentially. Participation can start from any phase, for example straight into the final phase of commercialization (phase 3). So, the SME instrument in a nutshell:
Phase 1: Concept and feasibility assessment
Will allow a six month assessment of the technological and commercial potential of a project, and tackle feasibility of concept, risk assessment, IP regime, partner search, design study, pilot application intention and business plans.
Phase 2: Innovation Activities
This stage includes demonstration, testing, prototyping, pilot lines, scale-up studies, miniaturization, design, performance verification and market replication.
Phase 3: Commercialization
The next seven years could prove to be exciting for European SMEs who are testing boundaries and building innovative products that can be turned into commercialization. Flexiant will continue with our commitment to innovation and hope our partnership with H2020 aids in our dedication to arming service providers in todays cloud battlefield.
For more information on the crucial elements of Horizon 2020, read our summary on the Flexiant blog.