In June 2022, the National Strategy for a Smart Specialization 2030 (ENEI 2030) built by ANI was approved, introducing financial instruments in its policy-mix.
The ENEI 2030 constitutes a strategic reference for prioritizing public interventions in Portugal, aiming to coordinate public policy instruments and enhance their effects. It is a strategy that covers the full range of the innovation policy instruments, with a special focus on R&D and innovation policies.
The rationale behind ENEI 2030 is to catalyse resources around strategic dimensions with the potential to promote Portugal in global markets. To achieve this, the strategy is implemented through collective building, within dynamic exercises, logics of smart specialization that are embodied in activities with the potential to induce structural changes.
Based on the distinctive characteristics of Portugal, the global vision, resulting from the structuring process of ENEI 2030, seeks to achieve the ambition and the sense of transformation that must mobilize the actors, in outlining a new competitive model based on knowledge and innovation. To this end, ENEI 2030 entails 6 priorities, namely, (1) Digital Transition, (2) Green Transition, (3) Materials, Systems and Production Technologies, (4) Society, Creativity and Heritage, (5) Health, Biotechnology and Food and (6) Forests, Ocean and Space.
In a major change regarding the past ENEI, the policy-mix envisioned by the new Smart Specialization Strategy now includes the mobilization of Financial Instruments for all thematic priorities. Thematic Financial Instruments (debt/guarantee and equity-type) were included in the policy-mix for those transformative actions where FIs can have a more prominent role to achieve the policy objectives. Further policy changes were also implemented to improve the management of the policy instrument, including at the monitoring system level and governance level, with the inclusion of FI-related indicators in the S3 monitoring and FI operators in the thematic platforms of the governance model.
The Innova-FI project contributed to this policy change, as part of the actions envisaged in the Innova-FI Action Plan to involve stakeholders in the definition of the best combination of financial instruments across different priorities of the national smart specialization strategy.
The ENEI coordination team created and facilitated collaborative platforms – Entrepreneurial Discovery Platforms – with the broad involvement of the quadruple helix actors. All the Innova-FI local stakeholder group members were invited to participate in these platforms and the Innova-FI team carried out informative sessions about Financial Instruments in the entrepreneurial discovery workshops that were organized, collecting the policy recommendations that culminated in the new policy-mix.