Smart Network and Sustainable Innovation Cluster to increase RDI Competitiveness of SMEs in the Adriatic

 Project Description

Overall objective of SMART INNO project is to develop a smart networking system for monitoring and fostering research & innovation capacity in SMEs, to increase competitiveness, and support SMEs sustainable growth through the use of financial instruments and coaching schemes on improving investment readiness, with emphasis on cross-border cooperation across the Adriatic. Despite continuing policy efforts for increasing the innovation potential and thus regional cohesion, there is still a wide gap between the Adriatic regions participating in the project (EU and associate) on the one hand, and the EU average on the other, in terms of RTDI investments and output. This strategic project aims at overcoming identified deficiencies and shortcomings (e.g. low access to financing, lack of synergies among SMEs and R&I producers, policy makers and investors) by widening the geographic scope of action (bridging 17 regions from 8 countries), and using a holistic approach for bridging demand and supply, by providing smart coaching and match-making, and by increasing access to alternative funding of regional innovative ventures. The project will last 28 months, and will setup and deploy an acceleration scheme to enable faster deployment of activities with increased effectiveness, to reach the planned objectives in a rather tight time-schedule.

 Main SMART INNO objectives:

  •  Support sustainable growth and improve competitiveness in Adriatic by strengthening R&I capacity; and fostering SME innovation, emphasizing cross-border collaboration through clustering.
  •  Establish smart cluster mechanisms for promoting to SMEs technology transfer of high added-quality innovative products and technologies that lead to long-term capitalization of innovation outputs and results.
  •  Create trans Adriatic network of R&I institutions, SMEs and Business Incubators to improve competitiveness, and facilitate exchange of best practices in SMEs and startups sustainable growth.
  •  Identify business and technological capacities in the trans Adriatic network in view of building sustainable cluster and promote cooperation between R&I, SMEs and policy makers to create cluster synergies and build capacity in Research, Development & Innovation (RD&I).
  •  Engage policymakers and regional/national stakeholders in decision making for formulating favorable policies in RD&I.
  •  Build Adriatic Business Angels Network to increase access of innovative SMEs and young entrepreneurs to financing, and investigate alternative cross-border co-investment facilities and new trends in fund-raising.
  •  Develop and test smart coaching schemes for SMEs and Startups; provide information and knowledge in financing opportunities, with direct impact on improved investment readiness of start-ups/SMEs.
  •  Organize workshops to bring together innovative SMEs, academia, and investors to present research results and innovative products, in view of fostering business collaboration; organise webinars to foster awareness and train SMEs and local/regional stakeholders in managing innovation and finding the way from idea conceptualization to sustainable business exploitation and internationalized business.
  •  Develop specs and sustainable joint research & training programmes for smart innovation cluster.


  •  AULEDA/Local Economic Development Agency – ALBANIA
  •  Juraj Dobrila University of Pula & Istrian Development Agency CROATIA
  •  ATLANTIS Consulting S.A.& E.R.F.C. (European Regional Framework Co-operation), GREECE
  •  RIMINI PROVINCE, Association of Chambers of Commerce of Veneto Region, Friuli Innovation Research and Technology Transfer Centre, Scientific and Technology Park Tecnopolis Pst S.C.A R.L., SIPRO Local development agency, Agency for Innovation of Administration and Public Local Services, ITALY
  •  Directorate for Development of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, MONTENEGRO
  •  Uzice Regional Chamber of Commerce & Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia (CCIS) SERBIA 2