The Innovation tour, a successful first edition

The first innovation tour in the industrial zones, running from June to October 2019 and in which UTC participated, was a success. Its assigned objective was to identify the needs of SME-SMIs in terms of innovation and international skills.

The Innovation  tour,  a successful first edition

Among the forty stopover cities of the first edition of the innovation tour in the industrial territories, four are in Hautsde-France, including Albert-Méaulte and SaintQuentin. Last September, in the town of Albert, the event was organised by UTC-Compiegne. A workshop-debate co-hosted by Pascal Alberti, Director of Innovation and Territorial Development of UTC, with the ALTYTUD cluster and the community of townships of the Pays du Coquelicot (”Poppy-land”). The themes addressed related to the place of innovation and international development in the current activity of the SMESMIs of this territory, their expectations in terms of skills but also the synergies between companies, territory, universities and higher education establishments.

Several business leaders were able to express themselves on many points. Typical questions raised: How do we innovate? With whom do we innovate? How do we attract young talent? What synergies? What skills are in demand? Then, on October 7, the tour ended at the Aisne Departmental Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Around thirty higher education establishments, including the UTC, were mobilised to support this initiative of the InnovENT-E Institute.

The latter has just renewed the approach initiated in 2012, which was to meet and interview SME-SMIs in order to better understand their expectations in terms of human resources and to develop a skills-intensive bank. The institute wanted to be part of the dynamics of the industrial territories launched by the Prime Minister last autumn to meet their economic players in a more extensive and structured format. And this will benefit from the support at the national l e v e l of the interministerial delegation for industrial territories, the BPI France, the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, the CPME, the Pink Innov' association, the MMA business foundation of Entrepreneurs of the Future, the APEC and several players in the economic and social development of each territory visited.

The strength of a territorial network

The InnovENT-E Institute is a partnership foundation created in 2018 with the aim of "promoting the development of innovation and international skills among SMEs and SMIs". It will perpetuate the actions of IDEFI (Initiative D'Excellence en Formations Innovantes) launched in 2011 as part of the Government Incentive Programme of Investments for the Future (PIA).

The institute promotes the grouping of economic and academic actors, structured in a network of territorial networks. It aims at contributing to the development of employment and business competitiveness through the co-construction of a training offer around the themes of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship (ICE) labelled and adapted to the specificities of SME-SMIs.

This foundation also promotes SME-SMIs among students and apprentices. The Regions of Normandy, Brittany, Centre-Val de Loire, Hauts-de-France, Grand Est and Pays de la Loire have supported IDEFI InnovENT-E's approach, some of them as early as 2011 and, in particular, the association that was the forerunner of the partnership foundation.

"This national tour will result in a status document that we will submit to the Ministry of the Economy during the first semester of 2020. A very useful tool for companies and for all of us, actors of the territory, in order to stick to the needs of the field via a reference frame of competences”, explains Pascal Alberti. Because more than ten thousand questionnaires have also been sent out to SMEs without forgetting the thousand companies mobilized on this largescale action.

"It should be remembered that only one in twenty companies export when they are not innovating while one in two export when innovation is present”.