The support of an innovation project manager provided within the ecoRIS3 project in Vidzeme (Latvia) is important in both new and experienced companies, as it allows systematic development of the new products, services, and processes. It would be a useful long term entrepreneurship support instrument, concluded local entrepreneurs and ministry representatives in a recent discussion organized by Vidzeme Planning Region.

Five companies in Vidzeme are involved in the pilot activity called “Innovation project manager - test before implementing” and receives innovation project manager support. During the discussion that took place last week, innovation project manager - Līga Brasliņa - presented the results achieved during the company's innovation management process. Entrepreneurs who participated in the working group saw that such support of the innovation project manager is necessary, while it is up to the policy planners to figure out - how to ensure it.

Entrepreneurs expressed that this support instrument is especially useful for small companies that are still developing their business. It has helped to guide the team in the implementation of ideas, to improve existing processes and to make them more efficient. Entrepreneurs also pointed out that even in more mature companies, the innovation project manager can provide useful support by helping to implement a systematic step-by-step approach, which often does not happen daily. The innovation project manager can provide useful data (for example available market data) and in general, thinks in the marketing and sales categories so that innovation is in demand in the market, concluded entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs also expressed an idea that it would be useful to combine the service of an innovation project manager with an already existing innovation voucher support services in Latvia provided by the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia.

Support for innovation management is not an administrative activity, but innovation management of companies' products and services, which is highly important for companies to faster adopt global trends and innovate, said Laima Engere-Levina, EcoRIS3 project manager in Latvia. "If such support for innovation were provided in conjunction with existing instruments, the number of innovative high value-added companies would increase faster. This is confirmed not only by the intermediate results of the pilot activity but also by the good practice example from the Italian 2i3T incubator. "

On June 17, 18 and 21 the 2i3T incubator provided an experience exchange and training. The pilot activity manager, stakeholders and representatives of Vidzeme Planning Region got acquainted with the innovation management practice in Italy and to the examples of several companies who receive the innovation manager support. The conclusions of the working group's discussion were reaffirmed, and valuable lessons learned to be included in the rationale of the support instrument.

At the end of the pilot activity, the Vidzeme Planning Region will initiate discussions with policymakers, as well as plan to submit proposals for the provision of such support in the long term.

Information prepared by: Ieva Bīviņa, Vidzeme Planning Region