SMEInnoBoost Project - Workshop for development of a Questionnaire and Methodology for conducting a statistical survey on innovation activity of Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

Feb 02, 2018   Slivek, Bulgaria

The workshop was conducted as one of the main activities within Work Package 3 (WP3) in the framework of the SME Innovation Capacity Boost Project under the Interreg - Balkan-Mediterranean 2014 - 2020 Transnational Program, aiming at increasing the innovation capacity of SMEs in the region. It was hosted by the National Statistical Institute of Bulgaria. The workshop was held on January 31 and February 1, 2018 in the NSI’s Training Centre Slivek.
Experts from: the statistical offices of Albania, Bulgaria and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the National Association of Small and Medium Business in Bulgaria (leading partner in the project), the Science and Technology Park of Crete at the Foundation for Research and Technology - Greece, the Institute of Information and Communication Technologies at BAS, Foundation for small and medium-sized enterprises - Skopje, FYROM and the Regional Development Agency of the Korce, Albania took part in the event.

The workshop was opened by the President of the NSI of Bulgaria - Mr. Sergey Tsvetarsky, who welcomed the participants and wished them fruitful joint activities in order successfully to achieve the final project goals, through cooperative work and helpful exchange of knowledge and experience between all partners.

The agenda of the workshop covered two working sessions. The first working session was devoted to the topic how the complex phenomenon as innovation is measured at EU level and at national level of three countries - Albania, Bulgaria and FYROM. This session provided information about the EU legal and methodological requirements on statistics on innovation, Brief overview of the development stages of the Community Innovation Survey (CIS) was also given.  

Current national practices and experience gained so far by the three countries (Albania, Bulgaria and FYROM) in the field of statistics on innovation were presented by the experts from the respective national statistical offices and discussed by all participants in the workshop.

The second working session was focused on development of statistical instrumentation (questionnaire and methodology) for the survey on innovation activity of SMEs that will be carried out in Albania, Bulgaria and FYROM.

The leading partner in the project (NASMB) gave detailed presentation about the results from the study "Identification of needs and key factors for the implementation of innovations by SMEs" and provided a review of existing SAT for innovations in SMEs.

Common agreement has been achieved on the proposed harmonized methodological recommendations to be followed for the implementation of the survey on innovation activity of SMEs. These recommendations are aiming to secure high level of harmonization of the survey results and production of comparable statistical data of good quality for the three participating countries - Albania, Bulgaria and FYROM.

As a result of the discussions, it was clarified and agreed that the coverage of the statistical survey of SMEs and also of the Self-Assessment Tool will include the following economic activities, according to Statistical classification of economic activities in the European Community (NACE Rev.2):
NACE 26: Manufacture of computer, electronic & optical products;
NACE 61: Telecommunications; 
NACE 62: Computer programming, consultancy and related activities;
NACE 63: Information service activities.
The first draft version of the questionnaire for the survey on innovation activity of SMEs was presented question by question, including brief explanation about the motivation behind each question and its composing categories. In the broad discussion that followed, the participants in the workshop provided useful comments and suggestions and reached principle agreement on the proposed structure and content of the draft questionnaire.

As an outcome from the useful discussion, some modifications of the draft questionnaire will be done by the NSI of Bulgaria and its final version will be distributed to the statistical offices of Albania and FYROM at the beginning of March 2018. It should be used further as a model for the preparation of the national questionnaires (in official languages of the three participating countries) for conducting the survey on innovation activity of SME

The leading project partner (NASMB) provided useful information and clarifications on the first progress report and some other current issues on the project including the timetable of forthcoming meetings.