Small and medium sized enterprises (SME) are the main pillar of the innovation activity in Germany. Around 95% of all innovating companies in the manufacturing industry have less than 500 employees. In the knowledge-intensive service sector this figure is 98%. More than one fourth of the entire innovation expenditure of manufacturing companies and almost half of the innovation expenditure of knowledge-intensive services are incurred by SME’s. Almost one fourth of the SME’s in the manufacturing sector carry out regular research and development (R&D). In the knowledge intensive service sector every fifth or sixth firm carries out R&D. Since the reunification in Germany, however, the German SME’s could not keep pace with the expansion of the R&D potential in the big companies. Thus the share of SME’s of the total R&D expenditure is much less today than it was 15 years ago. However SME’s are pioneers of technological advancement in a number of high technology sectors. Thus in a number of dynamic technological fields like biotechnology, optics, nanotechnology or information technology the central innovative impulses came from SME’s (mostly new companies).
The hitherto public support of top-level research has not taken the limited time and resource budgets of SMEs into consideration. Similarly there have been remarkable hurdles for SME’s for their participation in public R&D support programmes. Keeping this in mind “KMU-innovativ” tries to help with the main challenges for the support of high-level research in SMEs: Lowering the costs of information on support programmes, lowering the administrative effort, speeding up the approval procedure, protecting the financial resources, lowering the technological and financial “track record” requirements of the companies. The project aims at the formative evaluation of “KMU-innovativ”. The effects and consequences on the participant structure as well as the incentive effects of participation for strengthening the R&D base should be analysed. It is important to check whether a simplification of the procedure has been achieved and where there is further potential. For both aspects the starting situation as well as the international comparison with similar support programmes can be considered as the basis for information for the situation of reference. On the other hand the project aims at a comparable ex post evaluation of the programmes BioChance and BioChancePlus, which are seen as forerunners of “KMU-innovativ” with regard to their objectives and characteristics.

Selected Publications

Discussion and Working Papers

Licht, Georg, Oliver Pfirrmann, Robert Strohmeyer, Stephan Heinrich, Vartuhi Tonoyan, Thomas Eckert, Michael Woywode, Dirk Crass and Mark O. Sellenthin (2012), Begleit- und Wirkungsforschung zur Hightech-Strategie: Ex-Post-Evaluierung der Fördermaßnahmen BioChance und BioChancePlus im Rahmen der Systemevaluierung , ZEW Documentation LLL:citation.label.number 12-05, Mannheim. Download

Aschhoff, Birgit, Michael Astor, Dirk Crass, Thomas Eckert, Stephan Heinrich, Georg Licht, Christian Rammer, Daniel Riesenberg, Niclas Rüffer, Robert Strohmeyer, Vartuhl Tonoyan and Michael Woywode (2012), Systemevaluierung "KMU-innovativ", ZEW Documentation LLL:citation.label.number 12-04, Mannheim. Download


Rammer, Christian, Birgit Aschhoff, Dirk Crass, Thomas Eckert, Georg Licht, Michael Astor, Stephan Heinrich, Daniel Riesenberg, Michael Woywode, Robert Strohmeyer, Vartuhi Tonoyan and Niclas Rüffer (2012), Begleit- und Wirkungsforschung zur Hightech-Strategie: Systemevaluierung KMU-innovativ, Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, Mannheim und Berlin. Download

Licht, Georg, Dirk Crass, Thomas Eckert, Mark O. Sellenthin, Oliver Pfirrmann, Stephan Heinrich, Robert Strohmeyer, Vartuhi Tonoyan and Michael Woywode (2012), Ex-Post-Evaluierung der Fördermaßnahmen BioChance und BioChancePlus , Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, Mannheim. Download