Emerging industries have a considerable potential to reshape Europe’s industrial landscape, contribute to growth and ensure long term competitiveness. Evolving from new industrial value chains or from the transformation of existing industries, emerging industries are driven by key enabling technologies (KETs), new business models or societal and environmental challenges. To ensure long-term competitiveness of Europe’s Industrial base, European industries must continue to innovate and define a long-term strategic agenda for the development of their competitiveness, building on their existing know-how but also on collaboration with companies both within their traditional value chain and beyond. The conference “Rinascimento: Emerging Industries – A New Engine for Growth” was an opportunity to discuss, assess and showcase the state of affairs in emerging industries in Europe. Following a threefold objective, the conference introduced stakeholders to the most important developments within emerging industries, presented successful and promising policy support frameworks and provided room for discussion on business support measures and the needs of entrepreneurs.
I Opening Plenary session – Emerging industries as engines for Europe’s growth
Laura La Posta from Il Sole 24 Ore opened the conference and introduced Mario Melazzani, Minister Enterprise, Research and Innovation of the Lombardy Region. Mr Melazzani addressed the 240 strong audience and thanked DG Enterprise and Industry for hosting this conference in Milan. After comparing costs of administration between the national regional levels, Mr Melazzani noted that a strong industrial base is a prerequisite for a strong regional economy and that Lombardy had always been a pioneer of change. He stressed the region’s seven key sectors and its network of support instruments contributing to creating a supply chain between research, industry and the public sector. Mr Melazzani concluded with the plea not to hamper or impede change but to create a network that could embrace change.
Giuseppe Tripoli, Director General for Internationalisation and Trade Promotion, Ministry for Economic Development and SME Envoy for Italy intervened by video conference and started his speech by remarking that emerging industries were driving forward competitiveness in Italy. Industrial renaissance was key for Europe and Italy and emerging industries could be a growth driver and thus they should be supported along with companies that could take up Key Enabling Technologies. However, tax policies also need to be used to encourage research and development such as a tax credits and access to funding (e.g. mini-bonds) for research and employing high-level researchers.
Joanna Drake, Director for SMEs and Entrepreneurship, Deputy Special Envoy for SMEs, DG Enterprise and Industry opened her speech by emphasing that renaissance stood for renewal and revival which resulted in a more dynamic society and the birth of what we now term as industries. Ms Drake stressed that EU companies could not compete on price and low quality products. Rather, they must turn to innovation, productivity, resource efficiency and high value-added products and services fostered by collaboration across sectors and beyond borders to transform EU industry. The conference came at a good moment at the beginning of a new Commission which aims to build a Europe that delivers jobs and growth. So what was the EU doing asked Drake? The single market is a valuable asset but needs to be completed and the single market portfolio has now been transferred to the Commissioner for DG Enterprise and Industry which will change its name in 2015 to DG Growth. This should send a strong signal to business of the EU’s commitment to establish a competitive framework.
Alessandro Spada, Vice-President of Assolombarda noted the problem of a lack of investment due to the crisis. EU support is therefore crucial. The Italian economy is highly ranked for its industrial sector with the driving force of Lombardy. Lombardy also has a strong innovation model. But today, it was important to grow the sizes of companies to access economies of scale and there was a need to promote partnership especially in the nine clusters in Lombardy.
Patrizia Toia, Vice-Chair of the ITRE Committee, European Parliament (by video conference) assured the audience that the ITRE Committee had closely followed industrial policy and considered that the 20% objective was reachable. In Horizon 2020 the focus on ‘industrial leadership’ with a €20 billion budget would encourage a link between Key Enabling Technologies and new emerging industries. Ms Toia concluded with the plea to seek convergence between regions with less-developed regions working more closely with more highly-developed regions.
Gunilla Almgren, President UEAPME reminded the audience that UEAPME represented SMEs in Brussels and gave them a voice. 99.8% of EU companies were SMEs with an average employment of six employees. Costs and lack of finance are a problem for SMEs so new financial instruments were needed. There was also a need to reduce administrative burdens such as VAT declarations and that SMEs needed to be more involved in innovation and getting research out of university libraries.
Paolo Barbatelli, Chief Innovation Officer, Gruppo Rold commented that if you focus on survival you will never innovate. Innovation must be the strategy not part of the strategy. There is no magic recipe. In the crisis of 2008-2009, Gruppo Rold decided to establish a more strategic approach to research and innovation and built a stronger relationship with academic partners. This strategy has paid off and Gruppo Rold achieved its best results in 2013.
II Plenary session – What is there for Europe’s industrial renaissance? Understanding emerging industries and innovation which drive them
Laurent Frideres, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Luxembourg examined the features, drivers and potentials of emerging industries. According to Frideres, emerging industries were very much linked to cross-sectoral collaboration. Emerging industries were not always new but often involved new value chains. These new value chains have been mapped by PriceWaterhouseCoopers in seven key industries. It was important to note that the key was the value chain and not the sector, Frideres reminded the audience. Key drivers of emerging industries are big data which is driving transformation across all sectors and included ‘predictive analytics’ and clean technologies. The key message was that we were moving from sectors to global value chains.
Bart Van der Schueren, Executive Vice President of Materialise, Flanders, Belgium spoke of 3D printing as a new industrial revolution. Mr Van Schueren reminded the audience that 3D printing was not a new technology and printers vary in price from €600-€600,000. 3D printers now can be found in a wide variety of industries because they were able to print a unique product.
Rachel Lombardi, Director at International Synergies – Industrial Ecology Solutions, UK spoke about resource efficiency – a driving force behind cross-sectoral cooperation. Industrial symbiosis is about keeping resources in use for as long as possible. Waste products may be needed in different processes. While industrial symbiosis was seen as good activity the challenge was to engage the mainstream. This engagement must be made from a business case as businesses were most often looking for a solution to a business problem. Therefore, sustainability could be seen as a growth strategy and not separate from it.
Francesco Cesario, Vice-President Intl di Latteria Ugolini, Italy outlined how a small company could be innovative based on a case study of the Italian ice-cream market. Latteria Ugolini has developed a process to make ice cream in three minutes and now has three stores in Italy with 11 franchise stores. Customers are encouraged to make their own ice cream combinations and toppings and so far the company has been a success, leading the company now to enter the Chinese and Japanese markets.
Francesco Morace, President Future Concept Lab, Italy then outlined changing consumer paradigms. Putting these paradigms together could help understand emerging industries. Emerging industries were often linked with design visions, fashion dimension, art and craft value, urban experience, media and performance and hospitality and culture.
III Plenary session – What can policy do? Creating a favourable policy framework
Paolo Landoni, Co-director of the Master in Open Innovation and Knowledge Transfer, Politecnico di Milano opened the second day of the conference by introducing the topic of policy support measures at national and regional level in Europe. Defining emerging industries was not an easy task, but it was clear that emerging industries rely on new technologies and new demand. Firms were able to spot these opportunities. Much of the interest in emerging industries is also linked to ‘open innovation’ which is driven by ICT and crowd sourcing. Policy makers should promote mobility and open innovation projects for both new and existing firms, support research centres and universities and the collaboration with industrial pioneers.
Armando De Crinito, Deputy Manager, Lombardy Region Directorate for Enterprise, Research and Innovation discussed the policy strategy and support measures in Lombardy. In Lombardy there were many emerging industries in terms of the transformation of traditional industrial clusters. In his opinion, policies should focus on first movers in terms of R&D and start-ups. Lombardy has identified and supported emerging industries as assets for the region. In addition, clusters could provide support to emerging industries. Although welcoming the European interest and support for emerging industries, he stressed the need for flexibility in terms of regulations e.g. state aid.
Jose Carlos Caldeira, National Innovation Agency, Portugal outlined the Vanguard Initiative for the audience. The Vanguard Initiative involved 21 regions which were using the smart specialisation process to develop value chains and focused on aligned funding and political engagement. Three pilot projects have been started: 3D printing; efficient and sustainable manufacturing and offshore oil/gas and renewable energy applications.
Lisbeth Bahl Poulsen, Policy Unit for SMEs DG Enterprise and Industry introduced EU policy actions in support of emerging industries. Bahl Poulsen outlined the new Horizon 2020 call for cluster facilitated projects for new industrial value chains based on the philosophy of a large scale demonstrator approach supported by strong partnerships and strategic use of resources. This call INNOSUP 1 has a budget of €140 million over 7 years (€25 million in 2015). Five to ten projects per year would be selected via a two-stage process. The funding rate would be 70% except for non-profit entities but 75% of funds must go to SMEs through indirect support – incubators, business support, etc.
Kimmo Halme, European Service Innovation Centre, Ramboll Management, Finland then discussed the role of service innovation which could be seen as a key ingredient in emerging industries. Services account for 82% of EU total value added and were a driver for industrial innovation. Services transformed markets and fed economic growth. The European Service Innovation Scoreboard demonstrated the structural impact of service innovation in practice. The scoreboard had 59 indicators grouped into five dimensions and displayed data on national and regional levels through an online tool. Six model demonstrator regions have been selected, one of which was the Canary Islands.
Juan Ruiz Alzola, General Director of Canary Islands Agency of research, innovation and the information society, Canary Islands, Spain informed the audience that the Canary Islands was a model demonstrator region. He explained that the Canary Islands did not have industry and so services were important for the Islands with tourism being one of the main economic sectors with around 80% of the economy. Tourism has helped the Canaries to create a transport hub with eight airports (6 international) and 41 commercial ports. The development of a smart specialisation strategy has helped select key sectors such as tourism which stimulated innovation in other sectors such as water, energy, waste, ICT and construction. The Starmus Festival is an example of bringing together tourism and astronomy.
Armando de Crinito, Juan Ruiz Alzola and Lennart Svensson, Chair of the European Forum for Clusters in Emerging Industries, Sweden, who joined in for the panel discussion agreed that we need cooperation and regions were essential for the cooperation process but remarks were also made on the pratcial problems of encouraging funding between regions. . Smart specialisation could be a cooperation strategy e.g. sharing best practice for retrofitting in cities. Cluster organisations can be an intermediary and most regions have innovation support organisations.. It was agreed that it was necessary to develop global value chains and support cluster develop international strategies. Finally it was noted that innovation policy was a not one-size fits all and sustainability was important.
IV Parallel sessions – What do entrepreneurs need? Providing the right business support &
V Plenary Session VI – Reporting back from parallel sessions
Three parallel sessions took place, each tackling specific issues to try to identify and understand the needs of emerging industries and which solutions could be offered in the following domains:
A: Clusters and SME intermediaries
B: Access to finance and bankable proposals
C: Internationalisation and access to international markets
Panel discussion ;
Dimitris Tsigos, President of the Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs, YES, pointed out that the key problem facing SMEs was finance. We need to stop subsidies but increase access to capital with more soft loans and equity-based investments. More basic research should be financed and then rely on the market to develop the applied research. Another important barrier was the fragmentation of markets in Europe and the internal market was still a ‘fictitious’ market. There was a strong need to encourage mobility and manage IPR in a more open fashion. ;
Marina Calcagno Baldini, Manager at StartMiUp, noted that one of the key problems is internationalisation as in most cases the home market is not big enough. She echoed the plea for more mobility in Europe and for entrepreneurs to be aware of other markets.
VI Plenary session – Closing addresses
Kirsi Ekroth-Manssila, Head of Unit for SMEs: Clusters and Emerging Industries, concluded that there was a great potential for growth and jobs in emerging industries and that we needed to capitalise on the potential of emerging industries and provide the right conditions for their growth. One of these conditions involved supporting clusters. Ekroth-Mansilla informed the audience that there would be a new policy for cluster developed in 2015 where clusters would be seen more as integrators to stimulate growth. She noted that there was a need for new thinking and therefore there would be a public consultation on cluster policy opening in January 2015. Ekroth-Mansilla reminded the audience that emerging industries could be new industries or the transformation of old industries but the key word was collaboration between all actors and especially the regions. There was also a need to improve the internal market which is the reason for the creation of DG Growth (from 2015) which would combine DG Enterprise and Industry and the Internal Market dossier from DG Competition.
Alessandro Colombo, Director General of Eupolis Lombardia, Institute of Research, Statistics and Training, remarked that emerging industries were not new and that innovation had always been associated with industrial development right from the time of Leonardo da Vinci who designed canals to make Milan accessible from the sea.
 E.g. sorting and recycling http://www.zenrobotics.com/product/
Session A, on Clusters and SMES intermediaries, discussed the role of clusters and SME intermediaries in promoting cross-sectoral collaboration between innovative enterprises through various incentive tools. In particular, the role of vouchers was discussed based on four cases from Belgium, Austria, Germany and France.
The cases were about the role of an intermediary actor supporting innovation. The main point raised was about the importance of supporting the innovators by means of financial incentive (mainly vouchers, also limited in their amount – usually 5.000 euros) and to foster collaboration within the enterprise community.
They all focused on a cross-sectoral approach aimed at fostering experience sharing and connecting different actors (research centres, designers, entrepreneurs and so on). In order to make a “knowledge” network work well, it is important to build trust in the innovators and to promote mutual learning. This may raise the information flow among the various actors involved and create positive strong spill-over effects. The voucher instrument is considered in this sense very effective because it is very flexible and it requires very limited administrative and cost management for all parties concerned.
Among the various “services” provided to the innovators, the following were presented: mentoring for innovation, providing financial support, networking knowledge, promoting clustering of ideas and cross policy collaboration, organising B2B (business to business) matchmaking, seminars and so on.
To understand the needs of the SMEs is crucial: only by fostering collaboration among various (private and public) actors is it possible to make them talk to each other, overcoming diffidence and building reciprocal trust.
Creating networks is a priority for innovation: often the innovators don’t own the financial, administrative, and managerial tools to go beyond the innovation phase and enter the market in order to make their innovation profitable. If an external actor, usually public, supports them financially, this is the first step to give them the chance to make their innovation real. But it is not only about financial support: if a community of ideas, knowledge and practices is not on the stage, it is very difficult to create a positive and sustainable environment, for innovation. This is why cross-clustering ideas are crucial: usually innovation is not confined only in one realm. It is often the case that, for instance, ICT is interconnected with healthcare, industrial design, medicine, and so on: only by actively making interconnections (based on a relationship of trust) can innovation be successfully fostered.
Session B, on access to finance and bankable proposals, focused rather on support for finance. The discussion stressed, in particular, the need for
- a common regulatory framework and tax incentives at EU level;
- guidelines and programmes to educate start-ups in investor and entrepreneurial readiness;
- recognition of the Cultural and Creative Industries – as emerging industries – as assets for EU competitiveness, notably by educating bankers and investors to better understand and evaluate cross-sectoral and intangible assets;
- completion of the EU Single Market eliminating regulatory barriers between different Member States.
It was also highlighted that a favourable ecosystem is vital for success, notably through clusters and supported by EU and regional policies.
Finally, as US funding available for emerging industries is 3-5 times larger than in the EU, cross-border co-investment by European teams of investors should be established without too much administration or regulation to make more money available.
In session C on internationalisation and access to international markets, all agreed that internationalisation is one of the most important issues of the emerging industries. There were many statements confirming this. For example:
- The only way to survive and stay in the market today is to innovate and to internationalise.
- Behind the emerging industries are SMEs and they need strong support for internationalisation.
But how to do this,
- What kind of support can be provided to emerging industries’ entrepreneurs for internationalisation?
- How can clusters facilitate the access to international markets and assist in finding international partners?
- How can business support programmes help to assess the potential of an enterprise to go international?
- How can clusters and business support programmes help emerging industries’ entrepreneurs overcome legal and administrative barriers to internationalisation?
These were the main questions addressed in the session which also featured three case studies, notably the experience of European Strategic Cluster Partnerships, that provided
- a comprehensive review of their experience and achievements in the field of internationalisation,
- the most efficient business support tools and instruments they use in order to facilitate international cooperation and partnership, as well as
- the main barriers for internationalisation that entrepreneurs face today.
The main observation is that they all use a very similar approach. They start by analysing and assessing the competences, capacities and available technologies of their cluster members, the most promising new markets and partner regions in order to find a critical mass of stakeholders with whom to go international.
After identifying the most promising countries and cooperation partners they define the common goals and targets in a joint internationalisation strategy, including the development of a common brand. In their experience, it is not easy to develop a joint strategy or to share common targets. It is a great challenge to find real agreement on a joint strategy and not just to act as a group of independent actors.
The next step is to start with the concrete actions – setting up bridges and contacts in new, selected markets.
They stressed that COOPERATION IS KEY. However, it is not always easy to cooperate as not only common, but also separate interests are present among the partners. Their advice how to handle this situation is to BUILD COOPERATION BY CREATING OPPORTUNITIES.