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Benchmark on the needs and support for the market uptake of innovation for the energy transition

SMARTENERGY launched a survey asking on the one hand companies for their needs in the market uptake of their innovation and on the other hand the regional innovation stakeholders how they support the go to market of innovation. 

The detailed benchmarking of the services offered by both the partner clusters and the actors in their innovation ecosystem provide the basis for targeting those services aimed to increase the business support capacity of the clusters in the partnership. Exisiting support services are often duplicated and therefore increasing business support capacity of clusters in the partnership requires new approaches in the delivery of services to fall outside classic services.

The results of the surveys show that companies face critical challenges, including finding customers, breaking barriers in access to finance, accessing new markets, and bringing products to the market. The benchmarking exercise paves the way to create innovative services outside the market that can address challenges of the companies.

Current strengths of the partner clusters offer the possibility to provide top-notch services jointly. Some partners have direct access to test sites and facilities that could be potentially used in transnational and international cooperation projects. Access to public funding through the preparation of tenders and project proposals is a key aspect of the services. But, this approach should be diversified to differentiate from other peer organisations and to provide addedvalue and create synergies with other business support services, like internationalisation and accessing third markets.

COVID-19 has pushed forward digitalisation fastly. Increasing the business support capacity of the partnership should be embedded through digitalisation of services, and this includes capacity building activities for members and B2B matchmaking activities and access to private investors. The vast majority of companies show a keen interest in energy and ICT cross-sectoral cooperation and networking and future business support activities and capacities should create a comparative advantage in this field against other peer organisations.

Most of the companies rely on cluster business support to approach international markets. This shows a trust in the delivery and know-how of clusters in this field. Developing business development strategies and consultancy services in this field should focus on activities to ensure steady profitability in third markets and increase the turnover of companies. Strengthening the presence at local level and/or opening branch offices of the partnership could springboard the direct support to companies. Some partner clusters are members of international alliances, like the International Cleantech Network (ICN)COSMENERG-4i and Silicon Europe Alliance with an already established network and capacities. Joining synergies between these partnerships could be the basis for the common strategy focused on the design of an alliance or metacluster for energy transition at EU level.

Read the full document in attachment.

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